Training Liturgical Ministers - 31st May 2015

I concluded last week’s column by naming some of the essential skills required of liturgical ministers which include understanding the liturgy, being able to use “the tools of their trade” and knowing what the Church teaches about their ministry.

The Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy states clearly that all involved in liturgical ministry “must be deeply imbued with the spirit of liturgy…. and trained to perform their functions in a correct and orderly manner” (CSL 29). 

The Introduction to the Lectionary for Mass says “It is necessary that those who exercise the ministry of reader be truly qualified and carefully prepared so that the faithful may develop a warm and living love for Scripture from listening to the sacred texts read. “ (LMI 55)

This preparation includes biblical formation “to give readers the ability to understand the readings in context and to perceive by the light of faith the central point of the revealed message” and technical preparation which is aimed at making readers “more skilled in the art of reading publicly, either with the power of their own voice or with the help of sound equipment”.

Where can parishes and individual liturgical ministers find resources to help with this essential formation? Liturgy Brisbane, the liturgy office of the Archdiocese of Brisbane, has much to offer here, as a visit to the website shows.

Under the PUBLICATIONS tab are several resources for liturgical ministers, including “Break Open the Word”, the book for readers, and “Communion of the Sick”. Extremely helpful for parishes is “Powerful Points for Liturgical Ministers”, with twenty-two sessions for training liturgical ministers, each with a PowerPoint slide presentation and full teaching notes. There is an introductory session on liturgical ministry in general and two or three presentations for each of nine different liturgical ministries. Sessions for individual ministries are available as downloads from the Liturgy Brisbane website (see Publications/Digital Downloads) for the ridiculously low price of $3.50.

Under the DOCUMENTS tab on the website are the Brisbane diocesan guidelines for lay Communion Ministers and several instructional video clips on the Communion Rite.

The LITURGY LINES tab gives access to almost 800 “Liturgy Lines” columns many of which are on topics related to readers, communion ministers and other liturgical ministries.  Items of interest can be located by date, title or word search.

Over the next three years Evangelisation Brisbane in partnership with Liturgy Brisbane is offering formation for Liturgical Ministers in a program entitled “Forming Liturgical Ministers of Gospel Joy”. Completion of these workshops will have Archdiocesan recognition.

The formation will consist of three sessions of 2 hours each looking at theory, practical skills and local context. The first session provides an overview of liturgy and ministry and the second is a practical session for Ministers of the Word and Extraordinary Ministers of Communion (and other ministries as needed). These sessions will be provided at a deanery or regional level.  It is envisaged that the third session will be facilitated in the local parish to explore parish practices, customs and expectations.   

For more information or to express interest in the program contact Donna on 3324 3452 or

Elizabeth Harrington