FATHER PAUL PANG praised the good work of Catholic institutions in helping the poor in "A reflection for Lent" (CN, Mar 19). But he also posed this question, "Do we, for instance, pay our employees a fair and adequate wage?" He added, "After all, people who work full-time for the church also have families to support". What the latter sentence implies is clear.

As a follow up to what Father Paul Pang had said, I am reminded of another group of church workers who put in long odd hours to help at daily Masses, baptisms, first Holy Communions, confirmations, weddings, funerals and other functions.

They are the church sacristans who perform dedicated yeoman service. But as sacristans are part of the lay ministry, they could not be compared to full-time employees like the clerical staff. However, taking into account their many duties, some of which do not follow a routine, would they be eligible for a remuneration if they haven't got one?

Since most sacristans are retirees, a just allowance given to them would help them with expenses and encourage those who live farther away from the church to help out. Lest I'd be misunderstood, I'm not a sacristan.

    Sebastian Teo


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