ALTAR SERVER FAQ
What are an altar server’s duties?
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 liturgy during Mass. This is done through specific actions and by setting an example to the congregation by active participation in the liturgy (hymns, responses, etc.) , by looking alert and sitting or standing at the appropriate times.
Servers carry the cross, the processional candle(s), 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 people, wash the hands of the priest, assist the priest celebrant and deacon as necessary.
Who can be an altar server?
Altar Server Eligibility: any child who has made his or her 1st Communion may attend the training and become an altar server.
(Parents: please consider if your child is mature enough to sit reasonably quietly and pay attention during Mass; if not, perhaps they should wait an extra year before joining in this ministry.)
Additional requirements for adults:
- complete a background check with the diocese
- complete the diocesan child abuse prevention program
- should be dual-certified as an EM (not absolutely required, but preferred)
When is the next altar server training session?
The next planned training session is the Saturday after First Communion, at 10:30 in the morning at the church. It will probably last between an hour to two hours, depending on how many show up to be trained.
HOWEVER, I will often do an extra training session if there is sufficient interest. If you are interested, please contact the Cathedral Office and give your contact information to Deborah, who will pass it on. Please provide an email address for contact purposes.