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Liturgical Ministry :: Altar Server
Assistance at the altar by servers represents a long liturgical tradition. These servers enhance the quality of the 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).
It is important that [servers] have an enthusiasm for public prayer. The server is not someone who performs a function of two and then settles back to observe the rest. [Servers] listen, sing and pray with the entire assembly. G. Thomas Ryan.
The above paragraphs highlight the ministry of the altar server. The Vatican Council expressed the importance of having a number of ministers, in addition to the priest, for the fullest celebration of the liturgy. In the spirit of the ongoing renewal that liturgy requires, a few Questions and Answers regarding the role of the altar server, follow.
What is the role of the Altar Servers at Mass?
Altar Servers are lay men and women, girls and boys, who are designated to assist the priest and 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, 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)
Who may be Altar Servers?
Altar servers are baptized Catholics, women and men, boys and girls, who are mature enough to understand and carry out their liturgical function. They should have received their first Holy Communion and normally receive the Eucharist whenever they participate in the liturgy.
What formation is required?
Formation is both technical and spiritual. Altar servers need to know the individual parts of the Mass and their specific meaning, the various objects used in the liturgy and their proper names, and the differing functions of the altar server during Mass and other liturgical celebrations. They need to understand their functions as a generous service to God and God's people. Finally, they should be prepared to exercise their functions with reverence and proper decorum. This formation and training continues throughout the period of service.
How does one become an Altar Server?
If you would be interested in serving in the Liturgical ministry of Altar Server, contact Scott W. Eakins, Director of Liturgy at 414/276-9814, ext 3117 or by email.
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