Altar Server Guidelines
participate not only in their distinctive ministerial functions but
also together with the worshiping Assembly by singing, listening,
responding, and through their posture and gestures.
Assistance at the
altar by servers represents a long liturgical tradition. These servers
enhance the quality of celebration for the whole gathered assembly by
taking part in processions and by ensuring that all items required for
the celebration are available at the appropriate moments. (Introduction
to the Order of Mass, #22)
Altar Servers are
lay men and women, girls and boys, who are designated to assist the
the deacon at Mass. Ordinarily they are responsible for the cross, the
candles, the incense, and the censer. They hold the book for the priest
at the chair, they assist the priest during the preparation of the
gifts, and they wash the hands of the priest. In general, they assist
the priest and deacon when necessary. (General Instruction of the Roman
Missal - GIRM #100)
- Altar Servers are
scheduled for weekend Masses by
Dave Tully, Coordinator of Liturgical Ministries. Scheduling of Mass
times, how often per month, etc., is at the discretion of the Altar
Server. The schedule is prepared and sent as a group email
monthly. Each minister is then responsible to one another for
your scheduled times of service. Arrive for your Mass time ready to
serve the parish community.
- Each Altar Server
is responsible to inform Dave when
you will NOT be available during a given month. You will be asked via
group email, near the 15th of each month concerning unavailability for
- A monthly schedule
is emailed to all Altar Servers.
If you are unable to serve on a day you are scheduled, it is your
responsibility to find a substitute to take your place. Please do not
call Dave Tully or the parish office expecting them to find a
substitute for you.
Appropriate attire is expected for all ministers at all times. You are
asked to be neat and presentable when carrying out this important
ministry. It would be advisable to come to church ready to serve
whether you are scheduled or not.
- Dress slacks/pants
and dress shoes are expected.
Untied or open athletic shoes are inappropriate.
- Bold print shirts
with patterns, symbols or text are
not allowed – they show through the alb.
- Long hair that is
hanging in the way or distracting
jewelry is inappropriate.
- Report to the South
sacristy no less than 15
- Vest in an alb and
- Light appropriate
candles at least 10 minutes before
- Ask the Sacristan
(Dave Tully) if there are any
additional duties for the Altar Servers.
- If two Altar
Servers are present, one will be called
Cross Server and the other will be called the Book Server.
- When it's time for
Mass to begin, the presider will
lead all ministers down the side hallway to the back of the church.
Rites - At Mass
- The order of
procession down the center aisle of the
church is as follows, single file:
- Second Altar
- Lector (with
Book of the Gospels)
- Deacon (if
- Processional hymn
begins: the Cross Bearer leads the
procession at the signal from the Presider, and processes to the foot
of the Altar, without stopping, and continues up the sanctuary steps
toward the south side of the Altar, and walks into the south sacristy
to replace the Procession Cross back into its wall rack.
- The second Altar
Server also follows the Cross Bearer
and processes to the foot of the Altar, and stands to the right of the
center aisle – making sure to leave adequate room for the
- The Lector,
carrying the Book of the Gospels,
proceeds up the center of the sanctuary steps, places the Book of the
Gospels in the stand (plastic holder), turns around, and walks back
down the steps of the sanctuary and stands next to the other
- When the Presider
reaches the foot of the steps of
the sanctuary, all bow their heads slightly then proceed to their
places. Altar Server of the book walks up the steps of the sanctuary
and goes to their chair on the south (St. Joseph) side of the
of the Word – At Mass
- Glory to God
(omitted in Advent, Lent)
- Collect: Presider
says "Let us pray…” Book Server
picks up the Missal from the credence table, carries it to the Presider
and holds it during the praying of the Collect. After the Collect, Book
Server returns the Missal back to the top of the credence table, then
returns to their seat.
of the Eucharist – At Mass
- First Reading, the
Altar Servers listen
- Responsorial Psalm,
the Altar Servers sing
- Second Reading, the
Altar Servers listen
- Gospel Acclamation,
the Altar Servers stand and sing
with the assembly.
- Gospel Reading, the
Altar Servers listen
- Homily, the Altar
Servers are seated and listen
- Creed, the Altar
Servers stand and recite the Creed
with the assembly.
- Prayer of the
Communion Rite – At Mass
- Preparation of the
Altar and Receiving the Gifts:
Altar Server on the south side of the Altar goes to the Credence table
and picks up the Missal (with stand) and carries it to the Altar. The
Altar Server places the Missal (and stand) at a 45 degree angle on the
side of the Corporal. Do not place anything on the Corporal. Then
remove the plastic book holder from the Altar and bring it to the north
- The Altar Server on
the north side of the Altar moves
to the Credence table bringing to the Altar 1.) the chalice with paten
and purificator and 2.) the tray with the four communion cups and
purificators. (Ask Sacristan about placement.)
- One Altar Server on
the north side of the Altar now
stands alongside of the Credence table, waiting for the Presider to
stand up from the chair. When the Presider stands, an Altar Server
walks down the steps of the sanctuary and stands near to the side of
the Presider. The Eucharistic gifts are brought forward down the center
aisle and presented to the Presider. The Presider will usually hand the
wine flagon to the Altar Server. The Altar Server will carry the flagon
into the sanctuary, and place it on top of the Altar near the right
side of the corporal.
- An Altar Server
will pick up and hold the cruet of
water in hand. The Altar Server will walk toward the Presider and hand
him the cruet of water, handle first. The Presider will return the
cruet to the Altar Server. One of the Altar Servers should carefully
watch the Presider as he fills the communion cups. When the Presider
finishes filling the communion cups, the Presider will hand the empty
flagon to the Altar Server who will place it on the north Credence
- One Altar Server
picks up the towel for washing of
the hands. The other Altar Server picks up the cruet of water in one
hand and the lavabo dish in the other hand. Both Altar Servers now walk
to the corner of the Altar to meet the Presider. One Altar Server pours
the water over the Presider’s hands and the other Altar Server hands
the Presider the towel. When finished, both Altar Servers walk back to
the Credence table, place the cruet of water, towel, and lavabo dish
back on the north Credence table, and return to their respective seats
and kneelers on the north side of the sanctuary. Remain here until the
Presider says “…Let us offer each other a Sign of Peace.”
- Invitation to
- Eucharistic Prayer:
During the Consecration of the
Holy Eucharist, one of the Altar Servers rings the consecration bells –
vigorous rings at the elevation of the consecrated Host
and three short vigorous
rings at the elevation of the chalice of consecrated wine.
- Lord’s Prayer:
stand at your place and pray with the
- Sign of Peace: the
Altar Servers exchange a sign of
peace to each other, the Presider, and other ministers within the
- Preparing for
- From the north
Credence table, place on the Altar
-- the empty ciboria.
- Altar Servers
stand to the side of the Altar
behind the Extraordinary
Ministers of Holy Communion to receive the Body and Blood of
- During the
distribution of Holy Communion to the
faithful, one Altar
Server will go to the Altar to remove the Missal (and stand) to the
south Credence table. Return to your kneeler until the end of the
- The Presider
returns to the Altar, combines the
hosts into two ciboria, goes to the tabernacle, places the ciboria into
the tabernacle, then returns to the Altar.
- At this time,
one Altar Server takes the cruet of
water in hand, walks
toward the Presider, hands it to him, receives it back from him, and
returns the cruet of water back to the north Credence table.
Presider now returns to his seat. The Altar Servers now remove the
remaining sacred vessels from the Altar and return them to the north
Credence table. Return to your seats.
- Announcements: The
Book Altar Server should now be on
the south side of the sanctuary at your seat, ready.
- Prayer After
Communion: when the Presider says, "Let
us pray" – the Book Server walks over to the Credence table, picks up
the Missal, walks over and stands in front of the Presider holding the
book as he prays the Prayer after Communion.
- Concluding Rite /
Blessing and Dismissal
- The Cross
Bearer retrieves the cross from its
holder and stands near
the doorway of the South sacristy. When the music for the recessional
hymn begins, the Cross Bearer walks with the processional cross into
the sanctuary and down the stairs to the center aisle, standing in the
center aisle between the first two pews facing the altar. The base of
the processional cross can be placed on the floor until the beginning
of the recessional.
- Other Servers
wait for the Presider to walk to
the Altar. At this point
the Presider will kiss the Altar, and begin to proceed down the steps
to exit the sanctuary. Altar Servers wait for the Presider to take the
lead in exiting the sanctuary.
- When reaching
the bottom of the steps of the
sanctuary, remaining Altar
Servers join on either side of the Presider. All are now facing the
Altar. All wait and anticipate the "head bow" toward the Altar from the
Presider. All “head bow” to the Altar
(NOT the Cross Bearer) then turn
toward the rear of the church to begin the recessional.
- The Cross
Bearer leads the single file recessional, as at the beginning of Mass.
The Presider is the last person in the recessional.
- Return to the
sacristy by way of the south hallway.
Altar Servers extinguish all lit candles and ask the Sacristan if there
are any other duties to perform before leaving the sacristy.
Altar Server Guidelines pdf
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