Sacristan Procedures



Saint Thomas Aquinas Parish and Catholic Student Center

November 1, 2021; revised October 2, 2023

  • Please arrive to church thirty minutes ahead of the scheduled Eucharistic liturgy.
  • Wash your hands with soap and water, as necessary.
  • Turn the lights on in the worship space when you arrive.
  • During the Easter season, through Pentecost Sunday, and when there is a baptism during Eucharist, light the Paschal Candle.  *This candle should be lit during the Easter season before people arrive.
  • Put out the parking ramp validation machine and its instructions on the table in the gathering space, and plug it in. 
  • Place the Roman Missal on the table beside the presider’s chair.
  • Place the clear, Gospel book holder, which is in the credence cabinet, in the center of the altar so that when the Book of Gospel is in it, the book faces north and south.
  • Take the large pyx and the small pewter ciborium with the tongs, from inside of the credence cabinet and place them on top of the cabinet.  Make sure that there are low-gluten hosts in the small pewter bowl.
  • Keys –
    • The key to the locked cabinet is in the far-left drawer.
    • In the locked cabinet is the tabernacle key on the left side.
  • Insert the tabernacle key into the lock of the Tabernacle.  Open it, and estimate the number of consecrated hosts in the ciborium.  Leave the key in the lock, but close the Tabernacle.
  • Depending on how many consecrated hosts are in the Tabernacle, estimate the needed amount to set-out in the ciborium for the liturgy.  It is better to over-estimate the amount of people attending Mass, than to run short.  Typically, there are liturgies to follow that will correct the count, if too many are prepared.
  • Prepare two chalices, filling each approximately half-full.
    • Hosts – are kept in the lower left cupboard.  Estimate a number of hosts needed for the liturgy, keeping in mind the number already in the Tabernacle and include one presider host.
      • There are 100 hosts in each plastic tube.
    • Wine – is kept in the lower left cupboard as well. 
  • Place the ciborium with the unconsecrated hosts, the chalices with the wine, two purificators, a corporal, the uncapped water cruet, finger bowl and towel on the tray and place it inside the credence cabinet.
  • Place three empty ciboria (stacked) in the cabinet for the 4:45 and 7:00 p.m. liturgies. Place five empty ciboria (stacked) in the cabinet for the 8:30 and 10:30 a.m. liturgies.
  • Remind the hospitality ministers, if necessary, to turn on the Story Wall lights.  The switch is found on the second floor, at the base of stairs leading into the office/library area.
  • Double-check that the lectors have taken the Lectionary and the thin colored binder to the ambo. And that Reader 1 (lector) or the Deacon has the Book of the Gospels for the entrance procession.
  • Light the altar and ambo candles about ten minutes before the liturgy begins.  Altar servers will do this, if present.
  • Be aware of the attendance during the beginning of the liturgy.  Adjust the number of unconsecrated hosts in the ciborium in the credence cabinet according to your calculations, in case more or less is needed as compared to what you set-out.
  • Immediately after the concluding prayer to the Prayers of the Faithful (General Intercessions), and everyone sits down, bring the tray from the credence cabinet and place it on the NW corner of the altar.  Note – always approach the altar up the center part of the north steps.
  • Remove the Gospel book holder and place it on the bottom shelf of the credence cabinet.
  • Bring the empty ciboria to the altar.
  • Wash the priest’s hands, and then return the finger bowl, towel and cruet to the tray.  Take the tray and return it back to the credence cabinet.  Altar servers will do the hand washing, if present.
  • During the Sign of Peace, sanitize your hands and retrieve the Blessed Sacrament from the Tabernacle and place it on the altar.  You may now return to your seat.
  • During the communion procession, be attentive to the communion ministers in case they happen to need anything or need assistance.
  • After you receive Eucharist, return the Roman Missal back to the table next to the presider’s chair (Altar servers will do this, if present).  Then bring the tray and the cruet with water to the altar.
  • Receive the ciborium with the reserved Blessed Sacrament and return it to the Tabernacle. Note – if the deacon is present, he will do this.
  • After the priest purifies the vessels, take the tray with the cruet, corporal, ciboria, chalices, purificators and large pyx to the credence cabinet.


  • Immediately take the collection to the safe following the liturgy.  Always have another person accompany you, preferably someone you do not know personally, for example, one of the hospitality ministers.  Put the collection in a small bag.  Bags are found on top of the safe.  Place the bag in the mailbox style slot and close.  Double-check the closure to make sure the money has dropped completely into the safe.  Return any collection baskets back to one of the hospitality ministers or under the pews.
  • Properly extinguish all the candles that you lit prior to the beginning of the liturgy.  Altar servers will do this, if present.
  • Retrieve all liturgical vessels and linens on the tray from the credence cabinet.
  • The same corporal can be used for an entire weekend, unless it is soiled.
  • Wash the ciboria with soap and water, and then rinse and dry with a towel.  Wrap the ciboria in their cloths and put away.  Also stack the ciboria with the felt squares in-between each one.
  • Wash the chalices with soap and water, and then rinse and dry with a towel.  Put them away.  Hang any damp towels on the bar inside of the cabinet below the sink.
  • Return the tabernacle key to the cabinet on its proper hook; lock the cabinet and put the key back in the drawer.
  • Return the parking ramp validation machine and its instructions to the sacristy cabinet.  Note – this does not need to be done after the 8:30 a.m. liturgy.
  • Turn the lights to the “Night” setting after the 4:45 and 7:00 p.m. liturgies.  Turn the lights off after the 10:30 a.m. liturgy.  Make sure the Story Wall lights are also turned off.
  • Double-check the worship space before you leave.