Monday, September 26, 2005

Commissioning of Liturgical Ministers

During these months before Advent, you might consider blessing your liturgical ministers as they begin another term of service for your parish. In the Book of Blessings, you can find orders for:
  • the Blessing of Readers (Chapter 61),
  • the Blessing of Altar Servers, Sacristans, Musicians, and Ushers (Chapter 62), and
  • the Commissioning of Extraordinary Ministers of the Holy Communion (Chapter 63).

Although Communion ministers who are not ordained are the only ones of these ministries to be technically commissioned—because they require approval by the diocesan Bishop since they are not the ordinary ministers of Communion, thus the difference in the chapter titles in the Book of Blessings—all liturgical ministers may be delegated by the parish to minister to their local community in these public roles of service.

If you will be commissioning only Extraordinary Ministers of Communion, use the rite found in the Book of Blessings, Chapter 63. If you decide to commission several different ministries within one celebration, you could use the following adaptation by Diana Macalintal.

Commissioning of Liturgical Ministers
for Lectors, Communion Ministers, MCs, Altar Servers,
Ushers, Sacristans, and Music Ministers

This takes place after the homily.

Pastoral Staff representative:
Many in our community have been called to service in the liturgy. With gratitude and joy we commission them now and ask for God’s blessing upon them.

Those of you who have been called to be lectors, who proclaim God’s word in speech and in action, please stand.

Those who have been called to be Communion ministers, who remind us that we are the body and blood of Christ, please stand.

Those who have been called to be MC’s, altar servers, ushers, and sacristans, who serve our gathering and help us to pray, please stand.

Those who have been called to be music ministers, who help us to sing God’s praise, please stand.

Presider: [to the liturgical ministers]
God has called you, and you have answered. So we ask you now:
Will you commit to serve God through your liturgical ministry, to prepare well and be generous with your time and talent? We will.

Will you perform your ministry with grace and serve this community with love in everything you do? We will.

Communion ministers, I ask you[1]:
Will you undertake the office of giving the body and blood of the Lord to your brothers and sisters, and so serve to build up the Church? We will.

Will you administer the holy eucharist with the utmost care and reverence? We will.

We give praise to our God who has brought all of you to this day and who will continue to strengthen you in your faith. [The assembly may show their joy with applause.]

Presider: [to the assembly]
To all of you, the assembly of the faithful, I ask you now to stand and renew your commitment to your baptism and profess your faith.

Do you believe in God the Father Almighty,
creator of heaven and earth? I do.

Do you believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord,
who was born of the Virgin Mary,
was crucified, died, and was buried,
rose from the dead,
and is now seated at the right hand of the Father? I do.

Do you believe in the Holy Spirit,
the holy catholic church, the communion of saints,
the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body,
and life everlasting? I do.

The word of God calls us to serve. With confidence, let us ask the Lord to hear our prayers and to bless our brothers and sisters who will serve us in our liturgy.

[These or similar intercessions may be used, along with additional intercessions pertinent to the community and circumstances.]

For the Church (pause):
for a spirit of power and love and self-control,
for clear and unashamed testimony to the Gospel.
We pray to the Lord.

For all people of faith (pause):
for the stirring of the flame of peace,
for steadfast commitment to reconciliation.
We pray to the Lord.

For all who suffer from acts of violence and destruction (pause):
for the people of Afghanistan and Iraq,
for all military personnel,
for those affected by hurricane and natural disaster,
for the fulfillment of God’s vision of peace and justice.
We pray to the Lord.

For all who struggle to do the work of God (pause):
for the liturgical ministers of this community,
for deepening faith and commitment to service.
We pray to the Lord.

For all who have died, especially for those we now name (pause):
for all our dead.
We pray to the Lord.

Presider: [with hands extended over the liturgical ministers]
God of glory,
your beloved Son has shown us
that true worship comes from humble and contrite hearts.
Bless our brothers and sisters
who have responded to the needs of our community
and wish to commit themselves to your service.
Grant that their ministry may be fruitful
and our worship pleasing in your sight.
Hear our prayers and answer them in your time,
for we ask them through Christ our Lord. Amen.[2]

[1] The following two questions are from Book of Blessings, Chapter 63. return
[2] Adapted from Book of Blessings, Chapter 62. return