In Catholic temples there is a room where priests keep their robes, ornaments, books needed for mass and other objects related to the liturgy. This room is usually located near the altar and is known as the sacristy. In this dependence , the presence of a crucifix or some sacred image is very common. At the entrance there is a font of holy water that symbolizes baptism.
The sacristy space is not part of the liturgical complex. However, this dependence is important, as priests prepare themselves before the beginning of the mass. In this sense, there is a large table where ornaments are placed and a series of drawers that house the objects used in the cult. The person responsible for keeping the sacristy in order is the sexton.
the sexton’s office
Sextons are part of the history of Catholicism. It is an assistant to the priest who can be a religious or a lay person. Its functions go beyond simple custody. As a general rule, the sacristan has many tasks: preparing the altar, lighting the candles, decorating the church, and placing the microphones. Before starting the Mass, he helps the priest to dress in the sacristy and when the faithful leave the church, he makes preparations for the next Mass.
In the past, the sexton was responsible for ringing the church bells or playing the organ. Traditionally it was a very humble craft and those who were dedicated to it lived off the donations of the faithful. Currently, this activity is already professionalized.
The different areas of a church
From an architectural point of view, most Catholic churches are divided into the following parts:
1) the baptistery is the place for the celebration of baptism;
2) the nave is the space destined for the faithful so that they can participate in the worship;
3) the presbytery is the sacred place where priests perform liturgical acts.
Main elements integrated into the church
In addition to the sacristy already mentioned, in every church there is an altar, a presidential chair, an ambo and a tabernacle.
The altar is a fixed place where mass is held. From a symbolic point of view, it represents Christ and for this reason the priests kiss the altar at the beginning and end of mass.
Near the altar is a seat known as the presidential chair. Symbolizes the authority of the priest.
Next to the presbytery is the ambo, it is a raised and stable platform where the priest stands to address the faithful during the homily. According to the liturgical time, the ambo is covered with a colored cloth.