The duties of an altar server are varied, but the role can be extremely fulfilling. On special occasions, altar servers will learn to assist at special liturgical celebrations, as at the Easter Vigil and at Confirmation when the Bishop presides. The primary focus of the altar server is to assist the Priest Celebrant during the Sunday Mass. This assistance by the Altar Servers allows the congregation to concentrate and participate better in the music, the prayers, the proclamation of Scripture, and most especially, the beautiful Liturgy of the Eucharist.
Guidelines on the Ministry of Altar Servers
United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, Bishops Committee on the Liturgy, June 16, 1994
Servers should be mature enough to understand their responsibilities and to carry them out well and with appropriate reverence. They should have already received Holy Communion for the first time and normally receive the Eucharist whenever they participate in the liturgy.
Servers carry the cross, the processional candles, hold the book for the priest celebrant when he is not at the altar, carry the incense and censer, present the bread, wine, and water to the priest during the preparation of the gifts or assist him when he receives the gifts from the people, wash the hands of the priest, assist the priest celebrant as necessary.
Servers respond to the prayers and dialogues of the priest along with the congregation. They also join in singing the hymns and other chants of the liturgy.
Servers should be seated in a place from which they can easily assist the priest celebrant.
Benefits of Volunteering
Deeper awareness of Catholic worship
Growth in their own Christian faith
Interactions with our priests in a positive environment
Please be neat and dress appropriately. Avoid wearing shirts with logos or other symbols that may show through the alb you wear.
It is your responsibility to review the schedule and be aware of the dates you are scheduled to serve.
In the event you are unable to serve you should make a reasonable effort to contact the coordinator to find a replacement. Try not to wait until the last minute.
Servers are to arrive at least 10 to 15 minutes before the time of the scheduled Mass. If you are late an alternate may be picked to take your place. Report to the sacristy, put on your Alb and check with the priest for any special instructions. You should also talk with your partners and determine which duties each of you will be responsible for.
Your conduct during Mass is very important. Please pay close attention to what the Priest is doing during Mass. Be mindful of your posture and hand position while standing and sitting. Every server should be familiar with the prayers and responses that are said during Mass. Of all the things that altar servers do during the Mass, perhaps none is more important than the good example they give to the assembly of how to pray with dignity and grace.
Please make sure the albs are hung neatly in the closet. Tell someone if you notice something wrong with one of the garments.
Lastly, stay calm. If you are not sure what to do simple ask the Priest for direction.
Your role is very important and there is a lot to remember. You will learn by observing others while they are serving. Please don’t hesitate to ask questions. If you feel you need additional training ask your parents to contact us and we will be happy to schedule a session.