Altar servers perform most of the functions of the former “minor order” of ordained clerics known as acolytes from the Greek word akolouthos or attendant. Church writings from the second and third centuries discuss the role of acolytes, giving the office great importance and honor in the history of the Church. Altar servers today are not ordained, but are commissioned by their parish priest.
The primary role of the altar server is to assist the priest in the celebration of the Sacred Liturgy during Mass. This is done through specific actions and by setting an example of proper reverence to the congregation, by active participation in the liturgy (hymns, responses, etc.), by looking alert and sitting or standing at the appropriate times.
Servers prepare the sanctuary for the Liturgy, carry the cross and 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 congregation, wash the hands of the priest, assist the priest celebrant and deacon as necessary, and clean the sanctuary after services.
Servers can be men, women, boys, or girls who are at least in the 4th grade and have attended an initial training session. Each server must become aware of their responsibilities, be reverent and respectful at all times, and participate in all prayers and music during services.
Altar Server trainings are held periodically throughout the year.
For more information or to participate in this ministry, please contact:
Fr. John Salatino