Guidlines for Altar Servers at Jesus, Our Risen Savior
Say a Prayer before Mass Thanking God for the Privilege of being one of His Servants
- To be an Altar Server is a Great Honor and Privilege that can come to those young people who serve our God on the Altar. It can be an excellent beginning to your Spiritual Journey.
- The Altar Servers have two basic responsibilities: (1) to serve and assist the Celebrant, and (2) become as invisible as possible on the Altar. To become invisible you must perform your duties without unnecessary movements but reverently, and when seated remain as motionless as possible, no fidgeting.
- Arrive at Church at least 15 minutes before Mass starts. (Very Important: You and your family should be coming to church earlier because you need time to Pray and prepare.)
- If you are scheduled, sign in before you vest and advise the Sacristan that you are there. If you are not scheduled check with the Sacristan, as he may need you.
- After you have your vestments on, check and see if the Altar candles are lit. If they are not, light them. Put kneeler cushions out for the number of servers serving. It is important that you check each other’s vestments that they are on properly.
- Get processional (candles and cross) and wait in the vestibule.
- After the Celebrant is ready, join him with the Deacon, Ministers of Communion, the Lector(s) and/or Sacristan for a prayer.
- Go to the rear of the church and prepare to lead the procession. Start about 3 rows up and then begin the procession after the bell is rung or wait for the choir to start the song. Procession will start as the choir starts singing.
- In leading the procession, don’t go too fast or too slow—and be sure you walk together. At the foot of the Sanctuary—Cross Bearer make a left turn and puts the “Processional Cross” in its holder and waits by the Altar Server pew. Candle Bearers stop at the foot of the Sanctuary for a brief moment then go up the 2 steps and put candles in their holders, then immediately go to their pew by way of the front of the Altar.
- Remain standing – While standing, and at anytime not holding or carrying something, your hands should be together in Prayer form.
- While the Gloria is sung, one server (before Mass begins, decide among yourselves who will hold the book) will come to the Deacon (If no Deacon come to the Celebrant) and hold the book for the opening prayer. The travel time is during the last few words being sung, so to be ready to hold the book when Father says “Let us pray.”
- Sit during the first two readings (this comes after opening prayer). Stand for the Alleluia, and Candle Bearers come and get your candles and wait in front of the Altar in the Sanctuary. Your travel path is straight behind the Ambo or Lectern. While seated sit up straight with your hands on your knees. Remember, you are an example.
- The Celebrant, Concelebrant or Deacon will hold the gospel book high in the air between the two of you. (If there is a Deacon, he will read the Gospel.) When the Gospel verse is completed, the Celebrant, Concelebrant or Deacon will turn to travel to the Ambo. The Candle Servers will process, one in front of the deacon and one behind to the Ambo. They will be on each side of the Ambo for the Gospel reading facing the Book.
- When the Celebrant, Concelebrant, or Deacon says: “The Gospel of the Lord”, both Candle Bearers process around the Ambo. The deacon will follow the second Altar Server and place the Book of the Gospel on the lectern in front of the Ambo. (NOTE: the Altar Servers will be putting the candles back in the other candle stand). Then after placing candles, walk in a straight line back to your seat and sit down.
- Sit for the Homily. Stand and recite with the Celebrant the Creed (you should know this prayer). The Prayers of the Faithful follow, then sit.
- After Prayers of the Faithful, the two servers serving Mass remain standing. The Deacon will take the chalice to the Altar, If no Deacon one of you take the Dressed Chalice to the Altar, then bring the four (4) chalices, (be careful to carry only one chalice at a time because they are filled with wine!), the cruet of water, and the purificators (There should be one purificator for each chalice.)
- Get the Sacramentary from the Deacon’s chair and place it on the Altar. Cross Bearer now gets the cross with the two (2) servers and goes to the back of the church to lead the offertory procession—no candles at this time.
- After leading the offertory procession, the two (2) servers serving the Mass stand next to the Celebrant, one on each side to get the cruet of wine and the hosts from him—maybe the collection basket (place this in front of the main altar on the floor.)
- Put the Ciboriums on the Altar In the middle of the corporal. Take the wine to the side of the Altar and wait. If there is a Deacon, he will put wine and water in the priest’s chalice. If no Deacon, the Celebrant, or if there are two or more Priests on the Altar, then one of the other Priests will perform this task. Then he will give you the cruets to be placed on the credence table. Since there are three servers, the two others will prepare to wash the Celebrant’s hands.
- Bring the pitcher of water, bowl and towel (opened up). Stand at the edge of the altar. After the Celebrant dries his hands and replaces the towel, both servers give him a head bow and return items to the credence table.
- Go back down to the side and stand in front of your red cushion kneelers. Stand as reverently as possible with hands together in Prayer form until the Holy, Holy, Holy is sung. Then kneel until the Great Amen, using the cushions (save your knees).
- Choose one server (before Mass) who will ring the bell one short ring at the epiclesis, before the elevations of the host and chalice. That is when the Deacon kneels. At the elevation of the “Body of Christ” (the large host), ring the bells (one long ring) and again when the chalice is raised, another long ring. Now put the bells back on the pillow. Remain kneeling until after the great Amen.
- After the Our Father, at the “Let us offer each other the sign of peace”, shake hands with the Celebrant first, then the Deacon, if one is present then the other servers. Then go back down and kneel until after the “Lamb of God.” The Ministers of Communion (MC) will be coming up with you after the Celebrant finishes drinking from the chalice.
- Join the Ministers of Communion to receive Holy Communion on the rug in the Sanctuary.
- After receiving Holy Communion, go immediately to sit in the Altar server pew.
- After Communion has been distributed, stand and face the Tabernacle when the ciborium is being reposed there. When the Celebrant, Concelebrant, Deacon, or Sacristan genuflects, bow your head. When the door is closed on the Tabernacle, help clear the Altar. The Deacon, Concelebrant, or Celebrant will hand you the vessels (DO NOT TAKE ANYTHING OFF THE ALTAR).
- There is a period of silence when we are all seated. The Deacon, Concelebrant, or Celebrant will motion to the server who holds the book to come over and hold the book for the Celebrant for the prayer after Holy Communion.
- After the dismissal, “Go in Peace to Love and Serve the Lord,” response “Thanks be to God,” go and get your candles and crucifix, then move to your stations at the end of the aisle.
- After Mass, be sure you put your candles back in their holders in the Sanctuary (bow to the Cross). Check the Candles for oil and wick. If oil is required, fill the candle. If a wick is require replace it. Please pick up any vestments that may have fallen on the floor. It is very important that you keep the Altar Servers Dressing room clean and neat. The size of the Altar Servers albs are written on the hangers. Please make sure you Alb matches the hanger number when you return your Alb to the closet.
- If Incenses are used, have extra Charcoal on the shelf under the Credence table with a lighter. Add Charcoal at the Offertory, and re-light if necessary. After Mass dump the charcoal outside, and pour water on it so that the fire is out.
For Vigil or other special Masses, you will be told your additional duties.
If you would like to be an Altar Server, Please call the Parish Office or communicate with the person in charge of Altar Servers.