Altar ServersAssisting the Priest in the Celebration of Mass

Extraordinary Ministers of Holy CommunionAssisting in the Distribution of Holy Communion

LectorsBringing the Word to the Congregation



ChoirLeading the Congregation in Song

InstrumentalistsProviding Music for Prayer & Reflection

Ushers & GreetersAssisting Parishioners at Mass



Altar Servers

Altar Servers
Children in the fourth grade or higher can act as Altar Servers. Training and scheduling is provided by Saint Raphael Parish staff. Altar servers perform most of the functions of the former minor order of ordained clerics known as acolytes from the Greek word akolouthos (attendant). Church writings from the second and third centuries discuss the role of acolytes, giving the office great importance and honor in the history of the Church. Although institution into the ministry of acolyte is reserved to lay men, the diocesan bishop may permit the liturgical functions of the instituted acolyte to be carried out by altar servers, men and women, boys and girls. Altar servers are not ordained, they are commissioned by their parish priest.

The primary role of the altar server is to assist the priest in the celebration of the liturgy during Mass. This is done through specific actions and by setting an example to the congregation by active participation in the liturgy by their actions, singing of hymns, responses of the people, looking alert and sitting or standing at the appropriate times.

Servers carry the cross, the processional candle(s), 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 or deacon 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.

Altar servers are chosen from among the faithful who display a desire to participate in an intimate way during the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. It is an extreme privilege to kneel so close to the altar as our loving Savior, Jesus Christ, becomes truly present, Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity upon the altar.

A server is uniquely joined in the Heavenly Supper of the Lamb of God and serves in the company of myriads of angles eternally singing "Holy, Holy, Holy, is the Lord God Almighty, who was and is and is to come!"

Senior Altar Servers
Senior servers are young men and women in Grades 8 and higher who are willing and able to assume a leadership position among the altar servers.  After a special orientation, they are assigned to weekend Masses to assist the other servers and the priest and deacon preparing for Mass and during Mass. For more information, please contact the Parish Office.

Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion

Members of the parish who are 18 years old or older, who have completed the sacraments of Baptism, First Communion and Confirmation, and who are also compliant with the Parish Safe Environment Policy (clearances) are welcome to become Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion. At Mass, these ministers assist the Priest and Deacon in distributing Holy Communion.  With additional training, they may also assist with the distribution of Holy Communion at nursing facilities and the local hospital.  For more information on how to become a Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion, please contact the Parish Office.

Guidelines for Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion

Before Mass
Come to the sacristy at least ten minutes before mass and sign-in. When mass begins, you should be seated with the congregation in the pews. Please sit toward the front of the church so that you can come to the sanctuary with as little disturbance as possible. When you are on as an EMHOC, please dress appropriately.

During Mass
After the sign of peace, please come in to the sanctuary by way of the side steps. The two (2) Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion lined up closest to the congregation will distribute the Precious Blood. Please do not stand there if you are unwilling/unable to distribute the Precious Blood. Remain standing at your place until you receive your Chalice/Ciborium. Once you have received, follow Father to your station to distribute the Eucharist. The priest or deacon will assign your station for distributing. If you are distributing the Precious Blood, move far enough away from those distributing the hosts to allow sufficient room for the communion line to move freely.

Possible stations are:

    • Precious Blood 1/2
    • Chapel Side with Body of Christ
    • Center Isle beside Father with Body of Christ
    • “Rover” with Body of Christ (The “Rover” walks around the Church with the Body of Christ, distributing to those who cannot make it to the front of the Church for communion)

After Communion, the ministers distributing the Blood of Christ are to consume whatever remains in their cups, and then take the empty vessels to the altar for Father/Deacon to purify. Please consume the remaining Precious Blood discreetly. Those distributing the Body of Christ are to place their Ciborium on the Altar for Father to purify.

Lectors

As a minister of the Word, you bring forth the Word of God to the congregation. Lectors are needed for every Mass and other liturgical celebrations. Confirmed Catholics over the age of 16 are eligible to participate in this ministry. For more information, please contact the Parish Office.

Guidelines for Lectors:

Preparation for Mass

  • Preparation for serving as a lector begins at home. Advance preparation is very important to the proper interpretation of the Word of God. Further preparation also includes the proper attire for Mass. Please arrive in church early enough to go over the readings or the petitions and to check with the priest and organist for any special instructions.
  • At 1 minute to the hour, Mass is to begin The Lector is to walk to the pulpit and welcome the community to mass with the scripted text provided for them.

Readings

  • The first reading comes immediately after the Opening Prayer. When everyone sits down, proceed to the pulpit and begin the reading. Proclaim the readings in the following manner: Begin by reading the introductory declaration exactly as written, such as, "A reading from the first letter of Saint Paul to the Corinthians". Take a brief pause and then proclaim the reading itself. After another brief pause at the end, conclude the reading by saying, " The Word of the Lord."
  • Return to your chair and join the congregation in singing the Responsorial Psalm.
  • Immediately after the Responsorial Psalm, make your way to the Ambo and proclaim the second reading - concluding in the same manner as the first reading.
  • At the end of the second reading, move the Lectionary so the priest/deacon can place the Book of Gospels on the pulpit.

If the Deacon is Present

  • By way of the side stairs nearest the sacristy, make your way from the sanctuary to your seat in the congregation immediately following the second reading (during the Alleluia).

If the Deacon is Not Present

  • Take your seat after the second reading. Remain in the sacristy until the General Intercessions. After the profession of faith, move to the pulpit to read the General Intercessions.
  • You first give the response to the people, and then read each petition. At the end of each petition, pause for the people to respond. When you are finished reading the petitions, turn slightly to face the priest as he will conclude with a prayer.
  • By way of the side stairs nearest the sacristy, make your way from the sanctuary to your seat in the congregation following the Prayers of the Faithful (while the Altar is being prepared).

Choir

Today's choir fulfills the same unique ministry as the ancient schola; to enhance the prayer experience of the assembly gathered at liturgy. Often, choir members are not trained musicians. The members usually have a love of music, a good ear and a pleasant voice that blends well with others.

If you wish to share your talent, contact Ms. Darlene Kiniry, Music Director at dkiniry@straphaelpgh.org or after Mass. We encourage you to enhance our music on regular or occasional basis and members may join at any time during the year.

Instrumentalists

Instrumentalists are very desirable at liturgy. Your ministry will depend on your personal schedule. To share your talent with the Parish, or for further information, contact Ms. Darlene Kiniry, Music Director at dkiniry@straphaelpgh.org.

Ushers and Greeters

Ushers and greeters are men and women who assist parishioners as they enter for Mass and in taking up the collection during Mass. For more information, please contact the Parish Office.