Liturgy and Prayer
Altar servers of the parish assist the priests of St. Mary’s and the whole worship community in the prayerful celebration of the Eucharist. Altar servers function as Cross Bearers and Acolytes, assisting the presider and other liturgical ministers with the sacred vessels, the presentation of the gifts, and the use of the Sacramentary Book. Open to boys and girls from the 5th grade up, altar service provides an opportunity for young people to be more active in their participation in Mass.
The main function of the Altar Society is to keep beautiful “The Lord’s Home”, our Church of St. Mary’s. The society assists in the physical care of the altar and its furnishings. The society meets each Friday after 9:00 AM mass to evenly distribute the tasks among the members, including changing and laundering altar linens.
Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion
Members of this ministry assist the priests with the distribution of the Body and Blood of Christ during the celebration of the liturgy. Ministers who have received additional training also bring Holy Communion to the homebound and to patients at North Shore University Hospital and St. Francis Hospital. Eucharistic Ministers have a strong faith life and a deep desire to bring the Body of Christ to others. Members, who must be 18 years of age, are scheduled on a rotating basis. Click here for the EM page.
Family Liturgy Committee and Children’s Liturgy of the Word
Christ’s particular care for children teaches us that they are capable of welcoming God’s call and responding to it. Committee members meet on a monthly basis to work on preparing the environment, the ministers, and the assembly to celebrate the weekly Family Mass and other special liturgical celebrations throughout the year. The emphasis is on preparing a true “family” celebration.
The committee is open to any parishioner, whether or not they have young children, for “We are One Family” in Christ. Committee members are expected to familiarize themselves with the basics of liturgy and celebrating liturgies with children and to collaborate with Religious Education and the Elementary School in preparing liturgies involving those groups throughout the year.
The Children’s Liturgy of the Word (CLOW for short) is celebrated on the first and third Sunday’s of the month. The Following the Opening Prayer, children in grades 1 through 4 are dismissed to the chapel for their own Liturgy of the Word. This service follows the exact format as that in the main church, but the language and reflections are geared toward that specific age group. Lay people lead and give the reflections following training which includes a year of observations of the CLOW and sessions on writing and delivering the reflection. Others assist as “shepherds” who lead the children to and from the church and keep order in the chapel.
Beauty is an important dimension in Catholic liturgy and worship. One of the functions of the Flower Ministry is to be sure that the floral arrangements are kept well attended on a weekly basis. Every major holiday requires a major time commitment organizing and planning to be sure that St. Mary’s Church and its altar are decorated to accentuate the beauty of our church and to enhance worship.
A warm smile and welcoming personality are the key requirements for membership. Members arrive 15 minutes prior to mass to greet parishioners and to select parishioners to present the gifts. They distribute the Parish Bulletin after Mass, and they also assist at parish retreats, Holy Week, Confirmation, the New Parishioners Mass, and Christmas and Easter.
The Lector proclaims the Word of God through the reading of Scripture at Mass. In this ministry we are able to publicly witness our faith, and to come to know the Word of God more deeply. This ministry is open to parishioners who have the gift of a good speaking voice and are at least 16 years of age. Lectors generally serve at a particular Mass on a rotating schedule. Parishioners interested in becoming a Lector.
Ushers assist at Sunday Mass by seating people, taking the collection and distributing bulletins following Mass. Ushers also assist at major parish celebrations such as Confirmations and First Communions and other special celebrations as they may happen.