Helping Lay Volunteers Serve Better
Annual "Liturgy Day" provides efficient and effective formation and motivation for lay volunteers who regularly help at weekend Masses
"The Liturgy and Worship Commission... has a goal of sponsoring an Annual Day of Reflection for the spiritual growth and development of liturgical ministers. As pastor, I am the chief liturgist of the parish I appreciate the work of the Commission and all those who serve as liturgical ministers. It is essential that all are properly trained and in good standing with the Church. Our goal is to celebrate our Faith in accord with the universal norms and Christian joy."
Fr. Mark Lawlor, pastor
The need it meets
- a natural, efficient way to keep volunteers informed about changes that will effect their work (organizational, physical, or policy changes)
- a natural, efficient way to remind volunteers about the value of the services they provide, keeping them motivated and united
- a natural efficient way to encourage volunteers to perform their responsibilities with ever greater excellence and supernatural spirit
Where it came from
St. Vincent de Paul Church in Charlotte, NC, had just completed a new church building and needed to update lay participants on the new layout and logistics for serving in the Liturgy.
How it works
The parish Liturgy Commission sponsored this project (they call it the annual "Liturgy Day"). The Commission includes coordinators of the various ministries that serve at Mass: Altar Servers, Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion, Lectors, Ushers/Greeters, Musicians. The consensus was that participants would benefit from a time of spiritual reflection and re-commitment to their responsibilities.
- The Commission hosted a continental breakfast buffet after the 9 AM Mass on Sunday.
- Then there was a spiritual talk and practical break-out sessions for various service teams.
- Examples of reflection topics include (1) the history of different parts of the Mass, (2) why we celebrate the way we do, and (3) the role of music in liturgy.
- Reflection topics should be relevant to the spirituality of Liturgical ministers and geared towards motivating them to serve with greater dedication and supernatural spirit.
- The event borrowed ideas from business seminars designed to enhance team commitment to a shared mission.
- Attendance was about 80% of those invited, 70-80 people. This has remained constant over the course of four years.
- People who serve at different weekend Masses come together, fostering the sense of being part of something meaningful and greater than themselves.
- There has been a renewed sense of commitment among the ministers that increased motivation, a positive attitude and a contagious joy in serving.
- Talks on history and music have provided a perfect opportunity for adult catechesis to busy people who might not get it otherwise, deepening their appreciation of the liturgy, which overflows in the way they carry out their duties.
The Liturgical Commission, consisting of the coordinators of each ministry team including the priests and deacons, planned and prepared this event.
The leaders in each area made sure their teams knew about the event.
How to implement it
- Ensure that attendees know the Liturgy Day is for their benefit.
- Promote this event with enthusiastic wording and personally invite as many as possible.
- A bulletin announcement might look like this:
Start time - End time
Join with other ministers from St. Parish for a morning of reflection and fellowship!
We will begin with Mass at START TIME followed by a continental breakfast. Afterwards, SPEAKER NAME HERE will share with us his ideas on liturgy and service. Don‚Äôt miss this opportunity to meet with SPEAKER NAME HERE, as well as other parishioners who serve PARISH NAME HERE through the ministry of the Mass. Spouses are welcome.
Detach the form below, fill it out, and place it in the box in the sacristy or the workroom. You can also respond by calling (Enter the name of the parish contact person here)
We look forward to seeing you!
Yes, I‚Äôll be there.
Phone #______________________ # attending__________________
** Please respond by IDEAL DATE TO MOTIVATE.
Fr. Mark Lawlor is pastor of
St.Vincent de Paul.