There are many roles within the Catholic Church for both ordained and non-ordained people. A non-ordained person is typically referred to as a lay person, or one who is not a member of the clergy. One who is ordained is someone who has received the sacrament of Holy Orders.
At Saint Patrick Catholic Church you will the many roles of both ordained and non-ordained people.
Priests are essentially assistants to the archdiocesan bishop. They help the archbishop by celebrating the rituals with all the people in the different parishes. Since archdioceses are too large for the archbishop to conduct mass and other rituals for all the people he grants priests the authority to do so in his place.
A diocesan priest is one that is ordained for the service of a particular archdiocese. He is subject to the authority of the local ordinary in all matters.
Religious Order Priests
A religious order priest is one that belongs to a religious order. Religious orders vary, but in general work to serve a particular cause within the Church, or sometimes the world for those orders that are service or mission oriented. Some religious orders are the Jesuits, Franciscans, Benedictines, Claretians, Paulists, etc.
In general, the role of a deacon is to assist. Deacons can conduct many of the rituals a priest can. The main exception is Mass. A deacon is not authorized to consecrate the Eucharist (and therefore celebrate Mass).
Saint Patrick Catholic Church is blessed to have Deacon Bill Eckert.
A professional minister is a lay person who specializes in a particular area of ministry. The following are some examples of professional minister titles at Saint Patrick Church.
- Pastoral Assistant for Youth – one who coordinates ministry to youth. Often this person is responsible for coordinating activities and ministry opportunities for youth. Also this person might be responsible for coordinating religious education for their youth.
- Pastoral Associate for Faith Formation – This person is in charge of the curriculum for the religious education programs in the parish. Also in charge of gathering catechists (teachers of the faith) for the religious education program.
- Pastoral Assistant for Music – This person often coordinates the music at Mass and other worship events.
- Pastoral Assistant for Pastoral Care– This person is one who is gifted at providing support to those who are troubled, seeking advice, need emotional support, etc. Often times professional ministers other than a pastoral minister are required to have some level of pastoral skills.
Volunteer Lay Ministers
Volunteer lay ministers are people that are not part of the professional paid staff of a parish but do work that is instrumental to the operation of a parish. Without them many of the things that happen in parish life would not be available.
- Pastoral Council – these people give their input to the overall operation of the parish.
- Finance Council – these people help plan the budget for the parish and make recommendations for the budget.
- Choir – these people offer the gift of their lovely voices to lead the congregation in singing during Mass.
- Eucharistic Ministers – in many parishes it would take an hour to distribute communion if there was only one line so these people help distribute communion during Mass.
- Lectors – another group of people using the gift of their voice to present to Word of God to us during Mass.
- Leaders for the Children’s Liturgy of the Word – these people bring the young children of the parish to another room during the first half of Mass to help them understand the Scriptures in non-adult language.
- Ushers – these people facilitate in taking the collection during mass as well as help people find a space to worship if they come in late or the church is crowded.
- Liturgy Commission– help with planning the various decorations for different liturgical seasons as well as make recommendations for worship.
- Sacristans – a helper for the Mass who makes sure all the parts of the liturgy are coordinated including alter servers, lectors, Eucharistic ministers, that there are enough candles, the alter has been set up correctly, etc.
- Outreach and Social Justice Committee – these people help plan ways the parish can do social justice or reach out to those less fortunate.
- Catechists – these people provide us with their gifts and talents to help teach religious education classes.
All Baptized Catholics
Everyone else that may not have a specific role in the Church has an opportunity to participate in those roles in one way or another. Helping with decorations, volunteering time to plan an event, etc. All Baptized Catholics have the mission of sharing the Gospel with each person they encounter not only in word, but in deed.