When Bishop Dennis Sullivan was here for the Sacrament of Confirmation last week, he remarked to me about how well some of our Confirmation students read at Mass. He even said, “They should be reading at the Sunday Mass.”
This got me thinking about our parish situation in general. Yes, our young people should be readers at Mass. And they should also be our ushers, our choir members, our altar servers, our parish council members, and (when of the proper age) our extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion, etc. They should be our future Knights of Columbus members, St. Vincent de Paul Society members, Rosary Altar Society members, etc. Perhaps—if they feel “called” by God—they could someday fill the shoes of the priests, deacons and religious who are getting up in years and retiring!
We need people to step up to the plate—continually!
I know that the future of our Church is in our young men and women. As a priest for almost 26 years, I have spent the vast majority of my priesthood educating the young. I believe in their goodness and their ability to make a difference in our world. They may make mistakes. They will need to learn much and to mature. But don’t we all need to mature, to study and be educated and to learn from our mistakes?
As for the situation at hand, our parish urgently needs more Readers for Mass. (I hate having to look out in the congregation on any given Saturday/Sunday trying to see if someone could possibly read because there is no Reader present in the sacristy right before Mass is scheduled to begin.) If you are a trained Reader, please check before the Mass that you attend to see if we can use your assistance! Ideally, I would like to see two Readers for every Mass.
In addition, we need ushers, altar servers, and extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion at some Masses. If you are present and available at a particular Mass, please volunteer your services! Don’t wait to be asked! We also need people interested in filling some vacant spots on various committees. In fact, I am not aware of any parish organization of committee that is not looking for new members.
This is, once again, a request and an invitation from your pastor to become more active and involved in your parish. In whatever capacity you think that you can assist, please inform a member of the parish/office staff and we’ll see where your talents can be best utilized at this time.
When I begin Mass, I regularly pray that the gifts, talents and abilities that we bring to the altar—all of our service—be for the greater honor and glory of God.
I am certainly grateful (and I think God is pleased) if you attend Mass regularly. But if you are able to be of service to your parish in some capacity, and can help to strengthen our community through your assistance and talents, I think God (and I) would be even more delighted!
Fr. Ed Namiotka