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Altar Servers

Background

Assistance at the altar by servers represents a long liturgical tradition. These servers enhance the quality of 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 or two and then settles back to observe the rest. [Servers] listen, sing, and pray with the entire assembly. G. Thomas Ryan

Role of Altar Servers

Altar Servers are laymen 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, they 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) Altar Servers participate not only in their distinctive ministerial functions but also together with the worshiping assembly by singing, listening, responding through their posture and gestures.

Becoming an Altar Server

Altar servers are baptized Catholics, women and men, boys and girls, who are mature enough to understand and carry out their liturgical functions. They should have received their first Holy Communion and normally receive the Eucharist whenever they participate in the liturgy.

Altar Server Training

At Saint John Vianney, youth entering grades 6, 7 or 8 in the fall, may be altar servers. Training sessions are held periodically. The sessions are organized by members of the Liturgy and Music Office. The training sessions are also open to any server who would like a review.

View a Questions and Answer Brochure from the Archdiocese of Milwaukee on the Archmil.org website >>