The Diocese recognises two formal lay ministries:

  • Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion
  • Pastoral Assistants

Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion (often known as “Eucharistic Ministers”) take Holy Communion to the sick and housebound, and assist with the distribution of Holy Communion at Mass. After suitable training, which will usually take place in their own parish or deanery, and on the recommendation of their Parish Priest, they are commissioned by the Bishop to perform this ministry in their parish.
Pastoral Assistants (formerly known as Pastoral Lay Assistants) are involved in a variety of ministries within their parishes. They have received a thorough one-year formation though the Diocese prior to their commissioning by the Bishop. The programme of formation for new Pastoral Assistants is currently suspended.

As well as these ministries, lay people are often involved in parish life, among many other ways, as:

  • Readers at Mass and at other liturgies
  • Visitors to the sick or needy (often through the St Vincent de Paul Society)
  • Catechists, preparing adults and children for the sacraments
  • Guides for marriage preparation
  • Youth leaders
  • Leaders of Sunday “children’s liturgy”
  • Altar servers
  • Sacristans
  • Musicians and singers
  • Ushers and welcomers
  • Flower arrangers
  • Custodians of the liturgical spaces and sacred vessels (cleaners, polishers, launderers and ironers)