THE PRIMARY ROLE OF THE ALTAR SERVER is to assist the priest during the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. Altar servers carry the cross, the processional candles (some Masses), hold the book for the priest celebrant when he is not at the altar, assist the priest at the preparation of the altar during the offertory, wash the hands of the priest, and assist the priest celebrant and deacon in other functions.
Altar servers are chosen from among the faithful who display a desire to participate in an intimate way during the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. It is an extreme privilege to kneel so close to the altar as our loving Savior, Jesus Christ, becomes truly present, Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity upon the altar
Boys and girls who have made their First Holy Communion are eligible and encouraged to become altar servers. Each candidate must complete a period of training before serving
An altar server must be willing and interested to participate in this ministry on his or her own accord and not by parental or peer pressure. A reluctant or disinterested server is a distraction to the celebrant, other servers, and the entire community. Similarly, parents must undertake as active role in supporting their child in this ministry by ensuring that their altar server arrives to their assigned Mass on time.
An altar server performs all assigned duties with attention, dignity and reverence because they are serving in the presence of Our Lord. The Sanctuary is holy, and access to it is restricted to a very few people. Do not abuse the privilege you have been given to enter the sanctuary by being disrespectful or irreverent. Remember we are in God’s house.
An altar server knows the entire Order of the Mass, all the responses (Amen, Thanks be to God, and with your Spirit, etc) and all the principal prayers of the Mass (Gloria, Nicene Creed, May the Lord accept…, Sanctus, Our Father, Lamb of God, Lord, I am not worthy…). Therefore, each server must take the time to memorize these prayers if they do not already know them.
Each candidate must identify, know the purpose of, and properly use each liturgical item used at Mass. By ministering at the Lord’s altar, each altar server will also be actively discerning the possibility of serving the church in the future as a priest, deacon, or religious sister.