Liturgical ministers receive information and inspiration

Maralyn Guthrie of Sacred Heart Parish in Annawan found more than new techniques for keyboard and voice when she attended the Diocesan Liturgical Workshop in Peoria on Nov. 7.

“The people here inspire me to keep going. You need that every once in awhile,” said Guthrie, who is an organist at Sacred Heart.

Msgr. Stanley Deptula, director of the diocesan Office of Divine Worship, reminded workshop participants of the source of that inspiration.

“I need to stop in my busy life and all the things I do and remember it’s all about Jesus,” he told them at the opening Mass, celebrated Nov. 7 in the St. Thomas More Chapel of St. Mary’s Cathedral. “This is true not just about liturgy, but about the whole of Christian life — our whole existence.”

MORE THAN 30 people from parishes around the diocese spent the morning doing just that even as they explored the ways in which they could become better lectors, song leaders and extraordinary ministers of holy Communion. Sessions were held in the Cathedral Music Office as well as the Spalding Pastoral Center.

While those who have a role to play at Mass must know what they are doing and why they’re doing it, Msgr. Deptula said, liturgy is not theater and liturgical ministers are not performers.

“I can hire a Buddhist to come in and clean the church. But the sacristan, the person who embraces the ministry of preparing the sanctuary, is not a janitor,” he explained. “St. Therese of Lisieux found her way to holiness by preparing the chalice for Mass.”

“If all this is true, if we really believe that we’re not just performers, that we’re not just custodians, that we’re not just orators, if we really believe that what we are doing as ministers is to make present the Incarnation (of the Lord) in our parishes,” Msgr. Deptula said, “we have to do our jobs well, don’t we?”

The better the liturgical ministers do their job, the better the people in the pew can do theirs, he said.

“What is the job of the people in the pews, the people for whom and with whom we minister? Their job is to pray . . . and to get to heaven,” according to Msgr. Deptula.

Workshop presenter Christopher Kreps put it simply.

“This is the most important job we will have all day,” he told the lectors and extraordinary ministers of holy Communion. He urged them to go back to their parishes and share that message.

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