Built of Living Stones 234: Sacristies

Some sound thinking on sacristies:

§ 234 § Well designed, well equipped, and well organized sacristies contribute to the smooth function of the liturgy and to the maintenance and preservation of vesture, vessels, linens, and other liturgical appointments. Since the Second Vatican Council, most new churches and some renovated structures provide a vesting sacristy near the entrance to the church adjacent to the gathering space so that the entrance procession can proceed directly from the sacristy into the gathering space and down the aisle to the altar. The vesting sacristy provides storage space for vestments as well as a place where the vestments of the day can be arranged by the sacristan. A restroom, or at least a wash basin with running water, and a full-length mirror can be helpful additions to this area. If the vesting sacristy is located in the rear of the church, it is helpful to have an additional work sacristy that offers easy access to the altar located near the sanctuary. This sacristy would contain the sacrarium (see below) and another basin deep enough to fill tall vases with water. It could contain locked cabinets for items of special value and storage for sacred vessels, altar cloths and other linens, candles and candle stands, and vases, containers, and plant stands. In addition, the work sacristy should be equipped for the laundering and care of church linens. If fabric art in the form of hangings or banners is used in the church, it will be desirable to include a storage area with rods over which these fabrics can be hung so that they do not become wrinkled or damaged from improper storage.

Does it make sense to have multiple sacristies? In my Kansas City parish, we had three, in fact. There was a vesting sacristy that included liturgical books, plus that mirror and restroom. There was a working sacristy for supplies. There was a separate room for server vesting. I saw one plan once for a church that wanted to place a server vesting area adjacent to the priest area, and amazingly, without an exit, except past the clergy. No way would that fly today. I once served in a church where the sacrarium drained into the lowest part of the church property. In Spring, it often backed up and was unusable.

On the plus side, I’ve seen modern sacristies that provide for the laundering of linens, the storage of wine, and other thoughtful accessories. What might your toughts be on the sacristy?

All texts from Built of Living Stones are copyright © 2000, United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, Inc. All rights reserved. Used with permission.

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About catholicsensibility

Todd and his family live in Ames, Iowa. He serves a Catholic parish of both Iowa State students and town residents.
This entry was posted in Built of Living Stones, USCCB documents. Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Built of Living Stones 234: Sacristies

  1. Liam says:

    A sacristy should be conducive to prayer as well as work.

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