Altar Servers

Altar Servers

An altar server is a lay assistant to a member of the clergy during a Christian liturgy. An altar server attends to supporting tasks at the altar such as fetching and carrying, ringing the altar bell, etc. A young male altar server is commonly called an altar boy, whereas a young female altar server is commonly called an altar girl.

Duties at Mass

In the celebration of Mass, provided no instituted acolyte is participating, altar servers have the following responsibilities:
  • Entrance: Servers participate in the entrance procession, led by bearers of lighted candles flanking another carrying the cross.
  • Servers hold the liturgical books for the priest when he is not at the altar and is proclaiming the presidential prayers with outstretched hands. They bring and hold such things as books, thuribles, lavabo bowl and towel, patens, communion bowls, and microphones.
  • Proclamation of the Gospel: At the preceding the servers, perhaps carrying candles , precede the priest or deacon who goes to the ambo to proclaim the Gospel there.
  • Beginning of the Liturgy of the Eucharist: Servers arrange the corporal, the purificator(s), the chalice(s), the pall, and the Missal on the altar. They then assist the priest in receiving the bread and wine and perhaps other gifts that are presented to him. They present the cruets of wine and water for the priest or deacon to pour some into the chalice. When the priest then washes his hands standing at the side of the altar, a server pours the water over them.
  • Consecration:  The server rings the bell when, after the consecrations of the bread and wine, the priest shows the Host and then the Chalice.
  • Sign of Peace: The servers may receive the sign of peace from the priest or deacon within the sanctuary.
  • Recessional: The servers lead the priest and any other clergy as at the entrance procession, except that a server who acted as thurifer at the entrance now follows the cross-bearer.

Vestments

While ordained ministers must wear an alb, an alb and cincture may be worn by servers. Other appropriate attire, such as a cassock and surplice for servers. Black and red are the most common colors for a server’s cassock.

Altar Servers Co-ordinator:

Bea Gilmore: 306-869-7993