Altar Servers

Altar Servers assist the presiders at the weekend Masses.  Girls and boys must have received their First Holy Communion to begin serving.  This experience gives young people a better understanding of the Mass.
Altar Server Guide: Sundays & Solemnities

Before Mass
  • Wake and pray that you may serve God well during the day and at Mass.
  • Arrive at least 20 minutes before and ask priest if there are any special items for the particular Eucharist.
  • On special occasions & liturgies, light the charcoal for the incense immediately at 10 minutes before the hour. Please make sure there is an adult present when lighting the charcoal.
  • Carefully light the candles. If you are unsure, ask someone to be with you for safety reasons.
  • Check the chairs in the sanctuary for the music books. See that there are chairs for each server. Please use an extra chair in the music area if needed.
  • Bowl, pitcher, & towel to wash the priest’s hands are on the credence table.
  • Put on an alb and robe for the color of the day: check the calendar for the proper color. Please remember that the Saturday vigil Mass at 5 p.m. & 7 p.m. is for Sunday: Also, any other Vigil for a Solemnity (like Assumption) “counts.”
    • Violet: Advent, Lent
    • Green: Ordinary time
    • Red: Martyrs, Holy Spirit, Holy Cross
    • White: Christmas, EasterWhite: Christmas, Easter
  • Be ready to pray with the other ministers.
  • 5 minutes before Mass, get the cross and candles from the sanctuary. The liturgical art committee will rearrange the placement of these liturgical items from time to time.
  • Please use the outside hallway to get to the foyer/vestibule of the church. When windy, please use the inside hallway.
During Mass
At the beginning of the Eucharist:
  1. Process directly into the sanctuary during the Entrance Song to place where the items are placed for liturgy. Processions are never rushed, but elegant walking from place to place.
  2. The procession begins with the singing of the first words of the hymn/song. If you know the song, please sing along!
  3. On special occasions the thurible [incense holder] leads. This server goes to the other side of the altar, under the ROSE WINDOW, waits for the priest, who will take the horrible and use it. During the incensing of the altar, the server stays standing in the same place.
  4. The cross bearer is in front of the candle bearers.
  5. After placing liturgical items in their place, bow to the altar in reverence to Christ in the altar and go to the chairs to continue singing the “Opening Song.”
  6. The cross bearer holds the book for the Introductory Rites. After the “Gloria,” the cross bearer holds the Roman Missal or Sacramentary (Red Book) “Collect” or “Opening Prayer.” Be ready when the priest says, “Let us Pray,” so that the priest can be ready for the prayer. 
At the Gospel:
  1. At the end of the Second Reading, when the lector leaves the sanctuary and sits in his/her pew, before the beginning of the Alleluia or Gospel Acclamations, candle bearers get the candles and stand at the altar on either side of the GOSPEL BOOK.
  2. The thurible holder prepares the incense and moves to behind the ambo, behind where the gospel proclaimer will be.
  3. Candle bearers lead the gospel proclaimer to the ambo.
  4. During the singing of the Alleluia or Gospel Acclamation, all sing and process to the ambo.
  5. After the Gospel is proclaimed, all return items to their place and go to their chairs, sitting down together.
Preparation of the Altar & Gifts:
  1. Sing during the song while the collection is taken.  
  2. During the collections, the cross bearer moves to the credence table to “set the table”
    • Bring the Roman Missal (Sacramentary) over to the altar from the chair & place on the left side & edge of the altar.
    • Bring the corporal from the credence table; unfold gently.
    • Bring the ONE chalice (place in the center of the corporal)
    • Bring over one purificator.
    • Bring over a cruet of water.  
  3. After setting the altar, the candle bearers get their candles and process to the gift table (at the back of the church) so that they will lead the procession of gifts.  
  4. When the gifts are brought forward, lead the people to the priest, going to the diamonds at the bottom steps of the sanctuary. After priest takes the gifts, go place candles in their place.  
  5. The hosts and cruet of wine go on either side of the chalice on the altar.  
  6. The money basket is taken by the ushers to the Front Office.  
  7. If incense is used, bring it forward, then return it after it is used by the priest or deacon.  
  8. Come with towel, bowl and pitcher of water:Wash the hands of the priest & return everything to the credence table.
  9. After washing the priest’s hands, go back and stand at your chair to participate in the prayers of the Mass.
After Eucharistic Prayer, and singing, “Amen”:
  1. After singing the “Amen,” come immediately (but do not run) to hold the priests hands for the Lord’s Prayer.  
  2. After the “Lord’ Prayer” is over, take a small step back in the sanctuary to stay in line to receive the Sign of Peace.  
  3. During Sign of Peace, help with retrieving the vessels for Holy Communion.  
  4. When the Sign of Peace is over, come and stand on the western side of the sanctuary to receive Holy Communion with the other ministers. We will consume the hosts (the Body of Christ) together.  
  5. While communion is being distributed:
    • “Clean up” the altar
    • Return items to credence table, EXCEPT ciborium or a Luna for a monstrance. (If there is a Luna, leave the corporal nicely folded with the Luna on top of it.)
    • Bring the Roman Missal (Sacramentary) to the presider’s chair/table.
At the end of Communion:
  1. Hold the door to the Work Sacristy for the Communion Ministers.
  2. Watch for when all will bow to the Tabernacle.
  3. Hold the book for the PRAYER AFTER COMMUNION
  4. During ADVENT, CHRISTMAS, LENT & EASTER seasons, there is a special CLOSING BLESSING. Hold the book for the priest at this time.
  5. After singing the first verse of the song, bow to the altar and pickup your liturgical items you processed with into the church.
  6. Leave the sanctuary together as a group, not rushed or too fast; making sure that the presider is behind you.
After Mass:
  1. Do NOT de-vest. Wait until the song is finished before returning candles, cross and thurible to the sanctuary. The processional cross remains in the VESTING sacristy during the weekdays.  
  2. Put out the candles by blowing gently. Let an adult help extinguish the Paschal or Easter Candle  
  3. Once all the “chores” are done, hang albs in closet.  
  4. Check the pews and pick up trash; return kneelers to their proper position.  
  5. Return music books or chairs to the places where you got them at the beginning of Mass.
  • Always wear Sunday best; have one pair of shoes that is your “dress” or church shoes.  
  • It is your responsibility to find a substitute.  
  • Never rush or move quickly with liturgical items; “glide like angels,” prayerfully fold hands.  
  • Be models of good worship.  
  • Pay attention to the needs of the priest.  
  • If not feeling well, leave the sanctuary at once.  
  • Know where the microphone system is and where the batteries are kept for the microphones.  
  • Remember you have emergency water/food in the sanctuary credence table or sacristy cabinet.  
  • Remember you are fulfilling a special ministry of service to your parish!