Sunday, March 28, 2010

The Ministry of Crucifer

A few of you are aware that I love to serve as crucifer in my parish. Some have asked how this came about.

I know that different parishes have different roles for the crucifer. In our parish, the crucifer carries the cross in the opening and closing procession, and in the Gospel procession. In addition, the crucifer is the person who assists the priest in setting the altar for the Eucharist.

When I moved to this little town and its parish, only kids got to be acolytes or crucifers.

But not too long after I arrived in Missouri, the priest recognized that he couldn’t get kids to show up reliably for the 8:00 Sunday service, so he opened the ministry of crucifer to adults. I jumped on it! And I began attending the 8:00 service, just so I could serve as crucifer.

Of all the things I do at church, serving as crucifer is the ministry that means the most to me. I cannot quite say why. I know this: It feels like holy stuff to lead the procession and to assist the priest in setting the altar. I love standing alongside the priest as the elements are consecrated. As I assist the priest, I have a sense that this is how I would like to serve God. There is humility and holiness there.

Once I began attending the 10:30 (Rite II) service, instead of the 8:00 (Rite I) service, I no longer got to be in the regular rotation. I only got to serve as crucifer when the kids were on a mission trip or were otherwise unavailable.

I remember a Christmas Eve service a couple of years ago. I served as crucifer at the 5:30 service, as scheduled. But I went back to church for midnight mass. I wanted to worship; but in my heart of hearts, I also wished I could serve as crucifer. As it happened, none of the kids showed up to be acolyte, so I got to serve as crucifer at that most special service. But lore has arisen around the parish, that I locked all the kids in the boiler room so that I could serve as crucifer. Even now – on those high Sundays when I get to serve as crucifer – people will ask jokingly, “Have you locked the kids in the boiler room?” or "Do you plan to lock the kids in the boiler room?"

Now, with Holy Week upon us, people are already asking me, “Will you be locking the kids in the boiler room?” We shall see what must be done.


Blogger bfelice said...


3/29/2010 12:07 AM  
Blogger Kirkepiscatoid said...

I'm laughing.

It's a basic need. "I want to touch all the holy stuff."

It's the stuff real faith is made of and you are never too old to want it.

(Uh...can you tell I love touching all the holy stuff, too?)

3/29/2010 1:25 AM  
Blogger Kirkepiscatoid said...

P.S. I would help you lock all the kids in the boiler room.

3/29/2010 1:26 AM  
Blogger it's margaret said...

An abusive priest I worked for tried to 'punish' me by making me function as a crucifer when none of the kids showed up.... he made me take off my stole and such.... I could have cared less, and had a blast. I had always loved serving in that capacity, and could not quench my joy....

Priests can't function without the likes of you. God bless you in this ministry.

3/29/2010 6:18 PM  
Blogger Lisa Fox said...

Glad you liked it, Beth. You may recognize that first photo from the Bishop's installation of Shariya+ here. Hard to know which I love best: crucifer or subdeacon. Especially since both involve assisting at the altar.

3/29/2010 7:34 PM  
Blogger Lisa Fox said...

You're exactly right, KirkE! "I want to touch all the holy stuff." That's a memorable quote. And it expresses a large part of why I so love this ministry.

And, yes, I do know you feel the same.

And, yes, I know you'd be my first go-to friend in locking the kids in the boiler room. Love ya!!

3/29/2010 7:36 PM  
Blogger Lisa Fox said...

That's a hideous story of abuse and power-mongering, Margaret. But I'm glad to hear you took joy in the crucifer role. (And I take delight that you enjoyed what he must have seen as an abasement.) Bless you for that! It is indeed a delightful ministry.

3/29/2010 7:39 PM  

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