Work of the People

Have you ever connected the word “prayer” with the word “work”? Maybe you've said a prayer at your place of work like, “Please God, help me get through this day!” Other than that situation it doesn't seem like these two words go together. However, it may surprise you to know that the Church connects these two words in the word “Liturgy”. Liturgy is what we do when we come to Mass. It is the form of our community prayer and ritual. But did you know that the word “liturgy”, translated from the Greek, means “the work of the people”? From the earliest days of the Christian Church the community gathered to tell the stories of Jesus, break bread, and give thanks for their life in the resurrected Christ. Everyone participated in and contributed to the prayer celebration. This community prayer was, literally, “the work of the people”!

This tradition continues at St. John with the many liturgical ministers of prayer who you see serving at our weekend liturgies. Their service helps lead us in prayer and song, gathers our offering to God, helps us feel welcome, makes Christ present in the proclamation of the Word, and serves us the Bread of Life.

This parish is blessed as well with many Liturgy & Sacrament ministries that take place outside of our Sunday celebrations. They continue this prayer work by gathering together to practice forms of prayer that have been a part of our Church from the earliest times. Some also take the community blessing and the Eucharist we share to those unable to join in our celebrations. 

You are invited to share your gifts with the praying community. How is God calling you to become a part of this important work of the people of God?

Liturgical Ministers Universal Expectations

A commitment to the ongoing efforts of ministry on behalf of the parishioners of St. John Vianney, by the parishioners of St. John Vianney is no small task. Each ministry performs certain functions within the grand scheme to elevate the interior experience of parishioners. With this commitment there are implied universal expectations when someone takes on the responsibility of ministry. The heads of liturgical ministry have come together to place down in writing these universal expectations regardless of the ministry. By joining any ministry, the congregant agrees to the following standards of decorum and deportment.

  • Arrive 15-30 minutes prior to ministering at any given Mass. There is no ministry for which we ask the minister to arrive less than 15 minutes before Mass begins and, in the case of Music Ministry 30 minutes. This allows the minister to settle in the space, become aware of any special tasks for the day, and begin to greet the faithful in attendance for the day. We cannot express strongly enough the value of timeliness.

  • Renewal of Commitment Annually. We ask that once a year, as a ministry each person evaluate on an individual basis their commitment to the tasks, duties, and expectations of ministry. Each ministry has a different commitment timeline, and this has not been the norm for all ministries. We ask that when the time comes to renew, you prayerfully consider what is being asked and boldly affirm your commitment and passion for your calling.

  • Regularly review Job Description. From time to time ministries will have refresher memos, workshops, retreats, or days of prayer. Please review the description for the job you are signing on to complete. From time to time, there will be a pastoral reason to alter a description mid-year, but as ministry heads we will try to refrain from tampering with expectations between annually commitments. We ask that you remain as up-to-date on training for your ministry as possible.

  • Maintain a welcoming and approachable aspect at all times in the sanctuary. While we as individual ministers may not all be greeters, each minister is an ambassador of the welcoming and warm environment of St. John Vianney. Each ministry has their own tasks, but we ask that you refrain from the ‘not my job’ mentality. Eye contact even when standing in the body of the church or near the vestibule is everyone’s job, not just the sole responsibility of ushers and greeters. All are welcome, and we all must be welcoming in return.

  • Emergency protocols. If you have not known before, the Ushers ministry is in charge of an emergency that occurs during the Mass. Medical emergencies will be handled by the Ushers group, and instructions in the event of a fire, earthquake, or other unseen/anticipated event will be disseminated by them. Ways that you can help or be aware include, knowing that we have telephones in the sacristy and library should we need a phone to call out. Encouraging others to follow the directions of the Ushers or to step forward if you are an usher can also contribute greatly to smoother responses as well.

  • Honor Commitment. If you have made the commitment to be a part of ministry here at St. John Vianney, we ask that you actively participate in the ministry during the calendar year. There are always emergencies and unforeseen circumstances when people need to break from their duties, but this should be the exception and not the rule. Furthermore, if you find yourself unable to your commitments as scheduled, you are expected to find a replacement or substitute. There are many things that go into creating a schedule, and making functionality work at Masses, please help us create a smooth platform by ensuring you secure your own subs and then passing on the information to your head of ministry.

  • Appropriate Attire. We as the Liturgy Committee have landed on a few basic guidelines for serving in ministry during Mass. While again, there are pastoral needs for exceptions, we ask that all ministers consider these basic rules when stepping forward to serve. These rules are not gender or age specific!
    • No Shorts. There is an exception for altar servers due to the pastoral need to keep them cool and comfortable under their robes.
    • No Torn Clothing. While from time to time accidents happen, we ask that you do not intentionally wear ripped jeans, or shredded clothing.
    • No Large Advertising Logos. Please refrain from wearing non-clothing advertising logos while ministering. This includes altar servers as these logos can often be clearly seen under the serving albs.


Please understand that the entire Liturgy Committee is grateful for the work that you do on a weekly basis to elevate our liturgies. These guidelines are meant to help each of us be more accountable to ourselves and others and to give our ministries the strongest foundations on which to grow and thrive.