The proprietary MinisterScheduling.com ministry scheduling engine uses multi-pass techniques to fill open assignments in a manner consistent with the General Instruction of the Roman Missal (GIRM). Ministers are only scheduled to serve in one ministry at any mass.
In addition the scheduler includes features to:
- Recognize minister mass preferences
- Conform to the calendar constraints of the ministers
- Accommodate minister relationships
- Balance scheduling for ministers who participate in multiple ministries
- Distribute ministers evenly across positions within a ministry
- Support special scheduling for certain ministers (e.g. Deacons)
- Honor maximum scheduling limits set by ministers
- Allow manual modification of the generated schedule
Details about the scheduling of ministries are provided on this page.
As the assignments for a mass are filled, the scheduler begins with available trained ministers who have indicated that mass as their first preference. If open assignments remain, ministers selecting the mass as the second preference are added. Ministers with the mass as a third preference are added last if they are needed.
Ministers can block dates on their calendars so that they are not scheduled to serve at mass on those dates. The scheduler will assure that ministers are not scheduled for dates that they have blocked.
Coordination of the scheduling of related ministers is accommodated by the scheduler. For example, two parents with small children who serve in ministries may wish to have their scheduling done so that only one parent is scheduled at any given mass so that the other parent is available to be with the children.
Relationship settings can also be used to assure that family members are not scheduled for different masses on any given day.
The scheduler includes a feature to accommodate ministries that desire to assign different responsibilities to ministers depending on their position on the scheduling list and wish to have these responsibilities distributed uniformly to all ministers. For instance a Reader ministry may assign the first and second readings to ministers depending on the order they are listed on the schedule. By designating the ministry as a "positioned" ministry, ministers will have an opportunity to read both first and second readings on an equal basis.
The General Instruction of the Roman Missal indicates that a Deacon should assist the priest at distributing communion. Therefore, whenever a Deacon serves at mass he should be scheduled to serve at one of the positions of the Extraordinary Minister of Holy Communion ministry. The MinisterScheduling.com service provides a feature to designate such special ministers such that they are scheduled for their first preference mass whenever their calendar does not have the date blocked.
This feature can be used for other special case situations, such as place holders used to reserve assignments for child readers who are selected and prepared to serve as a Reader by the parish school.
Ministers may designate a limit for the number of times that they are asked to serve in a given month. When the parish creates the schedule for a month, the scheduler will assure that the minister's limit is honored.
Once a schedule has been run, ministry leaders have the opportunity to review the schedule and manually make changes that they deem desirable before the schedule is published. To maintain the integrity of the schedule, ministry leaders are presented with candidates to which an assignment can be transferred consistent with the constraints that the minister has requested.
The scheduler includes features to accommodate ministers who participate in multiple ministries so that the ministers will not be excluded from a ministry over the scheduling cycle due to participation the the other ministries.