Eucharistic Ministers and Lay Readers
Licensed by the Diocese of New Jersey for a three year period, Eucharistic Ministres participate more directly in worship by reading the Lessons and Psalms when there is no Lay Reader, helping to set the altar and offering the wine chalice at Eucharist. The Prayers of the People are read by the Eucharistic Minister. If no acolytes are present, as at the 8 AM service, the Eucharistic Minister assumes those responsibilities as well. A Eucharistic Minister may also be licensed to administer the Eucharist to members of the parish who are home-bound or otherwise unable to attend formal worship services.
Lessons and psalms are often read at worshp by lay readers. For parish members who enjoy participating at a less intense level, lay reading offers an opportunity to be a part of worship without actually wearing a robe and "being on the altar."
Acolytes are an integral part of our worship services at St. Mary's and we are grateful and blessed to have these dedicated young members serve at the altar and enhance our worship experience. Acolytes' responsibilities include carrying torches in procession at the beginning of worship, while crucifers carry the cross. In addition, crucifers light the altar candles prior to the beginning of worship. More seasoned acolytes are trained to assist the priest with setting the table for communion by offering the vessels of wine and water. At the conclusion of worship, the crucifer extinguishs the altar candles and leads the recessional with the cross, accompanied by the torch bearers. Thurifers are acolytes who carry and swing the thurible in which incense is burned at special liturgies. These activities help acquaint younger parish members with our worship practices in a reverent and intimate way.
Ushers and Greeters
Two ushers generally assist at each worship sevice, handing out worship bulletins, and if a service is crowded, offering seating suggestions. Ushers collect the offering at each service, prepare the altar rail area and guide worshippers as they proceed to the altar to receive Eucharist.
Visitors and parish members alike are greeted as they enter the church for worship by one or two friendly greeters. Handing out bulletins, offering a warm "Good morning," and answering any questions visitors may have about St. Mary's, greeters are an essential part of our worship services.
Ushers and Greeters serve at the 8 AM and 10 AM Services.