Sacramental Ministries

St. Francis Parish offers a number of ministries of sacraments, service, social action, spirituality and education.  Parishioners are invited to assist in the celebration of the Liturgy as Lectors, Extraordinary Ministers of the Eucharist, Altar Servers, Greeters, Collectors or choir members.  All are invited to add to the beauty of our Liturgical celebration.  Please call the rectory if you would like to assist in the celebration of the Liturgy.

Please click on the link below to download the Sacramental Ministries Schedule for St. Francis Church

March – May 2012 Sacramental Ministry Schedule

Altar Servers

St. Francis Altar Server Guide

The role of server is integral to the normal celebration of the Mass. Servers carry the cross, the processional candles, hold the book for the priest celebrant when he is not at the altar, carry the incense and censer, present the bread, wine, and water to the priest during the preparation of the gifts or assist him when he receives the gifts from the people, wash the hands of the priest, assist the priest celebrant and deacon as necessary. Servers respond to the prayers and dialogues of the priest along with the congregation. They also join in singing the hymns and other chants of the liturgy. At St. Francis Church, altar serving is open to children in the 3rd Grade and up who serve Mass at all Weekend Masses, Weddings, Christmas, Holy Week, Easter and Special Parish Masses throughout the year. Each year a new class is recruited and properly trained and installed for service during the Season of Advent. Senior Altar Servers are those in parishioners in high school who serve asMasters/Mistresses of Ceremonies at all Masses. Adult Altar Servers help at daily Masses and Funeral Masses during the week. It is a great honor and privilege to serve at Mass.

It is your most important activity of the week, for at Mass you come to spend time with God and receive Jesus in Holy Communion. As Servers, you have a special place close to the Altar. Servers must always come to Mass prepared to meet Jesus.

We prepare our bodies by fasting (not eating or drinking anything except water and medicine) one hour before receiving Communion. We also go to confession regularly to prepare our souls to receive Jesus in the Eucharist. We come to Mass dressed modestly so as to give a good example to others. We act, dress, and talk in a way that is fitting for the church, which is God’s house.Serving Mass is a very important responsibility. When we are scheduled to serve, the priest and the people are counting on us to be there. We must always be prompt for Mass. Servers need to arrive with enough time (15 minutes) before Mass to help the priest set up.

Servers need to be responsible for coming to serve when they are scheduled, or for finding a replacement and calling the Rectory Office to notify us. Servers should only miss serving Mass for a very good reason. Servers are to be examples to others at Mass. So, we should always know the responses to the prayers and join in singing the hymns. Servers have an important role in the Mass, and so we need to take that responsibility very seriously and always do our best to serve Mass well. Proper dress for servers does not include sneakers, tank tops or other inappropriate clothing for church.

The patron of altar servers is Saint John Berchmans. His feast day is November 26. The eldest son of a shoemaker, John was born at Diest, Brabant (Belgium).. John Berchmans was born on March 13, 1599 in Belgium. He was the son of a shoemaker, and one of five children. He was kind, gentle, and affectionate towards his parents and others. And, what distinguished him from most of his friends was his piety. When he was not even seven years old, he was accustomed to rising very early in the morning and serving two or three Masses with great dedication and enthusiasm. He always sought to learn more about his faith, listened to Sunday sermons with great attention, and liked to pray the Rosary. He felt a distinct call to the Society of Jesus, and, thus, entered a Jesuit novitiate in 1619, deciding to become a Jesuit after reading about the life of St. Aloysius Gonzaga. But, he did not live to be ordained. He died on August 12, 1621. St. John Berchmans was noted for his holiness. Although he did not found religious orders or churches and did not work miracles, St. John Berchmans made kindness, courtesy, and his faith a very important part of his life. In working to live a life of holiness and love for Jesus, St. John Berchmans often said, “If I do not become a saint when I am young, then I shall never become one.”

If you are interested in becoming an altar server please contact the rectory at 401.737.5191.

Extraordinary Ministers of the Eucharist

St. Francis Parish is grateful for those who serve Christ and His Church as extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion. As Bishop Tobin has stated, Your dedication helps to extend the Real Presence of Jesus in the Eucharist, to those who most need Him.In every celebration of the Eucharist, there should be a sufficient number of ministers of Holy Communion so that it may be distributed in a reverent and orderly manner. Bishops, priests and deacons distribute Holy Communion in virtue of their office as ordinary ministers of the Body and Blood of the Lord. When the size of the congregation or the incapacity of the bishop, priest, or deacon requires it, the celebrant may be assisted by other bishops, priests, or deacons. If such ordinary ministers of Holy Communion are not present, “the priest may call upon extraordinary ministers to assist him, i.e., duly instituted acolytes or even other faithful who have been deputed for this purpose. In case of necessity, the priest may also depute suitable faithful for this single occasion (GIRM 162).”
Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion should receive sufficient spiritual, theological, and practical preparation to fulfill their role with knowledge and reverence. In all matters they should follow the guidance of the diocesan bishop (Norms for the Distribution and Reception of Holy Communion Under Both Kinds for the Dioceses of the United States of America, NDRHC, no. 28). All ministers of Holy Communion should show the greatest reverence for the Most Holy Eucharist by their demeanor, their attire, and the manner in which they handle the consecrated bread or wine. (NDRHC, 29). In November of 2009, the Diocese of Providence issued new guidelines relative to extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion. The guidelines state that extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion must be Roman Catholics whose qualities of Christian life, faith and morals recommend them; fully initiated Catholics who have received the sacraments of baptism, confirmation and Eucharist; be at least 16 years old; if married, be in a wedding bond that is recognized (valid) in the Roman Catholic Church; and be regular participants in the sacramental life of the church.

Click here to read more about the new guidelines.

 

Lectors

Lectors serve the parish by proclaiming the Word of God at Mass. When the Scriptures are read in the Church, God himself is speaking to his people, and Christ, present in his own word, is proclaiming the gospel. The readings of God’s word must therefore be listened to by all with reverence; they make up a principal element of the liturgy. In the readings, the table of God’s word is laid for the faithful and the riches of the Bible are opened to them. Such designated lectors must be truly qualified and carefully prepared for this office, so that the faithful will develop a warm and lively love for Sacred Scripture from listening to the reading from the sacred texts.  All lectors are asked to arrive to the sacristy fifteen minutes before their scheduled Mass. Please be attentive to the schedule and notify the Rectory Office at 401.737.5191 as to any changes in the schedule.

Ushers

St. Julian is the patron saint of hospitality and ushers. Known as Julian the Poor, his Feast day is on February 12. Julian was a noble layman; friend and counselor to the king, he was married to a wealthy widow. A stag he was hunting predicted he would kill his own parents. Julian moved far away to avoid his parents, but they found him, and came to make a surprise visit. His wife gave them her and Julian’s bed; Julian killed them, thinking they were his wife and another man.As penance, he and his wife traveled to Rome as pilgrims seeking absolution. On his way home, to continue his penance, he built a hospice beside a river, cared for the poor and sick, and rowed travelers across the river for free.  Once, after having helped many, many travelers, Julian gave his own bed to a pilgrim leper who had nearly frozen to death. When they had him safely settled, the man suddenly revealed himself to be an angel. The visitor announced that Christ had accepted Julian’s penance; the angel then disappeared. Julian is often represented as carrying a leper through a river. Ushers play a very important role in the Mass here at St. Ambrose Parish. Men and women are welcomed to join this ministry that is responsible for greeting parishioners to make them feel welcome, provide assistance for parishioners in need and make sure the Church is prepared for the celebration of the Holy Mass. All parishioners of St. Francis are invited to join this ministry of hospitality.

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