Folder Altar Servers

Guidelines for Altar Servers

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Serving at Mass is an extremely valuable liturgical ministry. It is a privilege to serve at Mass, and everyone who serves in this ministry must realize that with this privilege there are responsibilities. Altar servers are LEADERS OF PRAYER for the people gathered at Mass. For this reason, servers need to be very reverent during Mass. Special attention needs to be given to standing up straight, keeping hands folded, sitting properly and responding to the prayers. Servers are meant to help people pray better, and never to distract people from prayer.

All youth, fourth grade through senior year of high school, are eligible to serve.

Servers must attend Sunday Mass weekly, which is an expectation for all Catholics. If you want to serve, you have to be a faithful Catholic and always strive to be a friend of Jesus and his Church.

Servers must be on time for serving assignments or, if unable to serve, find a substitute. It is important to be 15 minutes early when you are scheduled to serve.

That will give you time to get your alb on, set-up for Mass and receive any special instructions for the Mass. If you are not able to serve, when you are scheduled, please call another server and ask him/her to substitute for you. Please be dependable. We are counting on you. We need you!

Even if you are not scheduled to serve at a Mass you are attending, please check at the Sign-in table in the Narthex to see if there is a need for another server. We may need you to fill in for someone who failed to show up.

Older servers may be asked to serve funerals, weddings or other celebrations when the need arises.

Dress Code: The expectation is that you dress appropriately for weekend Mass. Since, this is the Lord’s Day, it is my strong preference that you wear dress shoes and nice clothes, especially on the days that you are scheduled to serve.

Be Joyful. This is a great opportunity to serve God and the Church. It is my hope that you will not only participate in this ministry, but also very much enjoy it!


Entrance Procession and Opening Prayer

Procession begins from the Narthex door (as pictured below). Cross bearer (+) is first. Two servers, holding candles (C), follow the Cross Bearer walking side by side, shoulder to shoulder. Deacon (D) or Lector (L) carrying the Book of the Gospels follows servers, followed by the Priest.





C           C   



Procession moves to steps of Sanctuary in FRONT of the Altar.  (as pictured below).


C   D/L  P  C   +

When priest genuflects to Tabernacle, servers holding cross or candles slightly bow their head. If servers are not carrying anything, then they also genuflect. As priest and deacon proceed to reverence the altar, Cross Bearer places cross in stand and candles are placed at the foot of the Tabernacle. Cross Bearer sits in chair closest to Deacon’s chair. One Candle Bearer sits next to Cross Bearer, and the other sits in the chair next to the Credence Table (as pictured below).


Candle            Candle
Candle bearer (later)   Candle bearer 2
Candle bearer 1   Cross bearer
    Sacramentary Book
Credence table Altar  Deacon
Ambo   Priest

Priest says “Let us pray” and Cross Bearer brings up the red Sacramentary with the appropriate ribbons facing the priest.

Liturgy of the Word

The server is to sit reverently and listen to the readings and homily. There should never be any talking during this time. The server is expected to participate in all the prayers and responses.

At the Gospel, Candle Bearers get candles from the base of the Tabernacle, and proceed to the front of the Altar (facing the Tabernacle), one on either side of the Priest or Deacon, who then picks up the Book of the Gospels. When the Priest/Deacon turns toward the Ambo with the Book of the Gospels, Candle Bearers turn and walk toward the Ambo, with one in front of the Priest/Deacon and one behind. When Priest/Deacon gets to the Ambo, two Candle Bearers with candles should be facing each other, one from either side of the Ambo.

After the Gospel, servers return candles to the base of the Tabernacle, and then both of these servers sit together by the Credence Table. Do not place anything on the Altar at this time.

Preparation of the Gifts – Preparing the Altar & Receiving the Gifts after the Petitions (General Intercessions), the servers will proceed to prepare the Altar and receive the Gifts of Bread and Wine. The server sitting closest to the Credence Table will place the Chalice, with the Purificator (looks like a cloth napkin), Paten (round metal plate), Host, Pall (large square fabric covered cardboard), and Corporal (square folded cloth) on the right side of the Altar. The Chalice, purificator, Paten, Host, Pall and Corporal are all stacked together. The other server sitting by the Credence Table will bring the empty Wine cups with tray and Purificator, or any extra ciborium (metal dishes) to the same side of the Altar. The Cross Bearer will place the Sacramentary Book on the left side of the Altar. The Priest or Deacon will then prepare the Altar.

When the ushers taking the collection are almost near the back of the Church, the Cross Bearer will get the cross and process down the center aisle to the back of the Church. When the Gift Bearers are ready, they will follow the Cross Bearer to the steps of the sanctuary. The other two servers will proceed with the Priest (hands empty and folded) down to the foot of the sanctuary steps to wait for the gifts (one on either side of priest).  When Priest receives the gifts (Bread & Wine), he will then hand the gifts to the servers to bring to the right side of the Altar.

Preparation of the Gifts – Serving Altar at Priest/Deacon’s right hand side. Back at the Altar, Servers will assist Priest/Deacon in preparing the Gifts. Server #1 will go to the Altar with a Cruet of Wine. Server #2 will wait for Priest/Deacon to place Ciboium with Hosts on Altar, and then immediately go to Credence Table and return with a Cruet of Water. (Both servers should make sure that the handles are facing out and stoppers are removed). After Priest/Deacon pour Wine and Water into Chalice, both Servers reverently bow and return to Credence Table together.

ALL servers are expected to pray and respond to all parts in the Mass. All servers should have their hands folded (fingers pointed to heaven) when standing.

During Eucharistic Prayer – Ringing the Bells. At the beginning of the Eucharistic Prayer, Priest will have his hands extended. When he brings his hands down upon the Gifts, Server #1 should ring the bells one time. After the Priest raises the Host and says; "Take this, all of you and eat it:  this is my body which will be given up for you." Server #1 should ring the bells three times. After the Priest raises the Chalice and says; "Take this all of you and drink from it: this is the cup of my blood, the blood of the new and everlasting covenant. It will be shed for you and for all, so that sins may be forgiven. Do this in memory of me." Server #1 should ring the bells three times.

Communion Rite

At the Sign of Peace, shake hands with Father, Deacon and Servers on your side of the Altar. After Priest and Deacon receive Communion, move forward to the carpet by the altar. The Priest will offer Communion to all Servers and Eucharistic Ministers. During Communion, Cross Bearer can remove Sacramentary Book from the Altar. All Servers are seated at their places during Communion. After Communion, Server #1 brings water to purify the Chalice and Server #2 waits to take back Chalice to Credence Table. Servers go back to Credence Table together. Both Servers also bring any extra Ciboria to the Credence Table.

Closing Prayer & Recessional

After the priest says, “Let us pray,” the Cross Bearer will bring up the Sacramentary Book with the appropriate ribbon out. After the music has begun, Priest and Deacon will reverence the Altar and all Servers will proceed to the bottom of the Sanctuary steps and wait. When the Priest genuflects to the Tabernacle, all Servers reverently bow their heads. All turn to leave in the same order as they processed in.

All Servers are to help clean up by following the instructions on the Server Check-List.

Altar Server Registration

Altar Server Schedule