A sacristan prepares the worship space before and after each Mass. According to the Catholic Encyclopedia (Our Sunday Visitor Inc.,1991), sacristan is "the term to describe the person who is responsible for the contents of a church related to liturgical worship, such as vestments, vessels, books, etc." Sacristans handle the preparation needs of lights and candles and check to make sure that the Sacramentary (the book that contains the presider's prayers) is present at the altar server's stool. Sacristans also make sure that the proper vessels are in place for baptisms, sprinkling rites, and liturgies that use incense. Behind the scenes, sacristans coordinate with other liturgical ministers, touching base with the coordinator of the Eucharistic ministers and double-checking that lectors, servers and a cross bearer are present. Sacristans also care for the vestments and order and inventory communion wine, hosts, oil and charcoal, incense and votive candles.
Sacristans remain after the liturgy to put away any items left open or out. They are responsible for making sure that candles have been extinguished and lights turned out, and that the book of the Gospels has been returned to the ambo.