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1330 Cathedral Lane Halifax
Mailing address:
1340 Cathedral Lane
Halifax NS B3H 2Z1

Email:cathedralchurch@eastlink.ca Email:cathedraldean@eastlink.ca

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The Cathedral Sacristan sacristan

Maureen Yeats

A number of people have asked me just what it is I do as Sacristan. The work is very detail-oriented. I obtain supplies that need replenishing, including microphone batteries, candle oil, Priest’s Hosts, people’s wafers, Communion wine, etc. As well, I take vestments (chasubles, stoles, etc.) owned by the Cathedral to be dry cleaned on a regular basis.

I prepare for each of the Sunday Eucharist services by making setting out trays with chalices, linens and all else needed. On a weekly basis, I fill the Holy Water containers, and the inserts for the oil candles, and put the microphones in place. As well, I mark the Altar Missals and the Gospel Book, distribute leaflets for the clergy, lay readers and servers, and refill the votive candle holders in St. Alban’s Columbarium. I’m fortunate to be able to share this portion of my work with some of the other Cathedral Lay Readers.

Before Diocesan services, I make sure that there are prayer books and hymn books for the Bishop, the other participating clergy and the other people in the Sanctuary Party, as well as prepare a tray with Communion Vessels, linens and all else that is needed.

Occasionally there are unusual things to do. For example, if the Bishop chooses to have a Service of Blessing for Chrism (oil used at baptisms) and Oil for Anointing the Sick, I’ll obtain the oil and see that it is prepared. If the Bishop wishes to have the Ceremony of Washing of Feet as part of a service, I’ll find the basin and jug and make sure there is a clean towel on hand.

In what way is the work of Sacristan a form of ministry and not merely a job that needs to be done? I see the role of Sacristan as being “a servant of the servants of God” in that, by doing what needs to be done to the best of my ability, the worship services flow smoothly and without distractions. A secondary role is to offer hospitality to anyone who drops by when I am present by answering questions, conducting brief tours of the Cathedral, or just listening if someone needs to talk.

It may sound like hard work, and does take several hours a week, but for me it is truly a labour of love. It is indeed a privilege to be the Cathedral Sacristan.

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As a Cathedral community, we acknowledge that we are in Mi’kma’ki, the ancestral
and unceded territory of the Mi’kmaq People.
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