In the Catholic Church, a sacristan is an officer trained to take care of the sacristy, the church, and their contents. At Jesuit High School, a team of nine seniors serve as sacristans for Friday liturgies.
With this year’s fully remote schedule, the sacristan team is unable to perform their duties in front of the student body. Instead, the team of sacristans are some of the few lucky students awarded on-campus privileges.
Every Friday the sacristans are required to assist with the televised weekly mass held in the chapel. Senior sacristan Grace Taylor provided a glimpse into what a typical Friday looks like for those in her position.
The sacristans arrive Friday morning after first period and check in with Christian Service and Campus Ministry Associate, Mr. Kato to get their temperature taken. Then the sacristans begin to set up the chapel and prepare the altar.
“My job is often wiping down the microphone because people go up to speak with no mask” said Taylor. Once mass is over, one of us will hand out the Eucharist. With COVID, we don’t add that part into the recording of mass since people at home watching cannot receive it. Once mass is over we clean up everything that we had set up, talk to Mr. Don Clarke to receive feedback, and then go home.”
The sacristan has been a popular and competitive position to obtain throughout the years at Jesuit highschool. This year, due to COVID-19, some of the sacristans were personally asked by Mr. Clarke.
“I was asked by Don Clarke to accept the position because I have been involved in other Campus Ministry activities the past 3 years,” senior Tatum Maddocks said. “I also love being involved in Jesuit activities and think that Campus ministry is the heart of most of the activities. I have always loved mass because I really feel like it brings the community together.”
The sacristans, alongside the presiding Priest and some faculty make up the attendance of the Friday masses.
“It’s pretty weird to walk around the campus and [have]it be dead, dark, and just lacking the normal chaotic energy it had when we were in school,” Taylor said. “I wouldn’t say it’s saddening. It’s Just weird.”
“I miss mass because it was always a nice way to end my week surrounded by the community and classmates who I rarely got to see,” senior Cara Thompson said, who is not a sacristan. “I think the sacristans are likely in the best position, still being able to experience that sense of community on campus.”