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Overall, the role of the sacristan is to oversee and keep in good order the worship space (including the sanctuary, the nave, and the gathering area) and the sacristy. They must have a reverence for the sanctuary and for all articles and sacred vessels used in worship and liturgical activities. The sacristan is the person who is appointed to be available to prepare everything needed for the liturgy.

The tasks could include (but are not limited) to:

  • Make sure the furniture in the sanctuary is clean, appropriately positioned and not cluttered. This includes the altar, ambo, lectern, presider/deacon chair and other articles/furnishings in the sanctuary.
  • Be familiar with the Ordo, Sacramentary, Lectionary, and other ritual books needed in the liturgy and sets them up properly in preparation for the planned liturgies.
  • Makes sure that processional candles are clean and functional, with wicked trimmed, as needed.
  • If incense is to be used, fill the boat with incense, place charcoal in the thurible or bowl, and light the charcoal approximately 15 minutes prior to the start of the procession; place the stand or pedestal for the thurible and boat in the desired location.
  • Ensure sufficient amount of clean purificators, corporals, hand towels, incense, and charcoals are available for the week’s liturgies.
  • Arrange the liturgical book(s) needed for the celebration, marking all of the divisions/sections.
  • Ensure that the sanctuary vigil lamp is always burning; and is replaced if/as needed weekly.
  • Ensure that the holy water stoups are cleaned and replenished, as needed.
  • Ensure that the holy water font is cleaned and replenished, as needed.
  • If there is a sprinkling rite, Ensure the water bucket and sprinkler are prepared and placed on the credence table for use during the Mass.
  • Ensure any pyxes containing communion hosts (for distribution to the homebound, hospitalized, etc) (to be consecrated during the Mass) are placed on the credence table and brought to/placed on the altar during the Preparation of the Gifts.

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