To the Altar Server candidates:Welcome and thank you. You have decided tobecome an altar server. To be an active participant inthe Mass is very special. By serving God in thechurch you are also learning how to serve Godoutside the church by helpingpeople who are in need. We will discuss this in ourtraining session. I welcome you and I pray that youwill learn to understand the rites of our holy faithand serve the church with joy and reverence. Are youready? Let’s begin!
So Let’s begin. Just like when they build a houseor other type of build-ing they start with afoundation. The foundation is part of the buildingthat supports the rest. You need a strongfoundation in order to have a strong build-ing.Remember when Jesus said to Peter “You are myrock and on this rock I will build my church.”You can say Peter was the foundation of theentire church.People also have foundations— we can call themcharacteristics. Charac-teristicsare the things we would like to see in an altarserver.
What Characteristics should a Server posses?A Server should posses the following characteristics:•Naturalness and discretion of movement - dont fumbleand stumble.•Naturally alert and attentive - dont daydream, yawn orfall asleep.•Natural Foresight - anticipate what might happen next.•Be able to work together in a team.•Be able to facilitate the public expression of sharedprayer.
When a construction company builds a foundationfor a new building they must follow a set of rules orguidelines. There are certain requirements theymust follow—they have to do these things or thefoundation will not support the building. If altarservers do not meet the requirements they will notbe a strong foundation (support) for the Mass.
Requirements for Altar Servers CandidatesA Candidate should fulfill the followingrequirements:•A strong desire to serve at the Altar of Our Lordand Savior, Jesus Christ.•Be an active member of the parish communityand believe in the teach-ings of The HolyCatholic Church.
•Have already made their First HolyCommunion and started fourth grade.•Know all the prayers of the of the Mass frommemory.•Know how to properly genuflect.•Know how to make the sign of the Cross.•Know how to receive Holy Communion in theapproved manner.
What do I need to know to be a good altar server?You will need to learn more about your faith. Altar serversplay a very important role during the Mass. It is importantthat you not only know what to do but a little bit as to whyyou do it.Just like everyone who works they need to learn more aboutthe job they do. Many jobs have words that other peopleoutside the job may not even know.You will need to learn some new words and their meanings.Don’t worry it’s not as bad as vocabulary can be. We willtake our time and learn the things we need to know andhave fun while doing it.
Once we finish with the training you willbe assigned to work with an ex-periencedserver who will help you put into practicewhat you learned in train-ing.
How do you become good at something?Take baseball for instance—you can onlybecome really good by practicing. Themore you practice the better you willbecome.
Same with video games. The first timeyou play a new game you don’t do verywell do you? Every time you play thegame you get a little better.Then one day you get the high score. Ifyou pay attention during training andpractice what you learned you willbecome a very good altar server.
Different jobs that Altar servers carry out at Mass –Thurifer - This is an experienced server who will carry theThurible(incensor). The thurible will be required duringthe service and it is the job of the Thurifer to have it readyas required. Care must always be taken as a smolderingcharcoal fire is used in the thurible which reachesextremely high temperatures.
Different jobs that Altar servers carry out at Mass –Cross-bearer - The server, who carries the processionalcross at the beginning and end of the service.
Different jobs that Altar servers carry out at Mass –Book bearer - This server has the job of holding the bookof prayer for the priest at the beginning and end of theservice. It is this servers responsibility to make sure thatthe book is open on the correct page and is held in such away that the priest can read it with ease.
Some Basic RulesBefore you come to Church.•Make sure you get a good night sleep. It is very off puttingfor the congregation to watch a server keep yawning.•Make sure your shoes are clean.•Make sure your hands and fingernails are clean.•Make sure you have had something to eat and drink.•Make sure you arrive at church 15 minutes before massstarts.
Before Mass•Make sure your hair is tidy.•Keep quiet in the sacristy.•Say a quiet prayer before serving.After Mass•Clear away, the vessels etc from the sanctuary
Altar Server’s DictionaryProcessional Candles - These two candles are carried either side of thecross in the entrance procession. They are then used to flank theGospel when it is pro-claimed.Alb - A long linen tunic, worn since the four century. The name comesfrom the Latin word, albus, meaning white.Altar - The structure on which the Eucharist takes place.Ambo - Also called the Pulpit. This is where the readers (Lectors)Deacon or Priest reads the word of God to the people.
Altar Server’s DictionaryBoat - The container inside which the incense is kept.Book of Gospels - Contains all the Gospel readings for theChurchs year. It is brought to the lectern during the Gospelacclamation. It may be carried into church as part of theentrance procession or put in a special place before thecelebration begins.Candlestick - The holder into which is placed the lighted candles.Chalice - The cup that contains the precious Blood of Christ.
Altar Server’s DictionaryChapel of Reconciliation/Confessional Box - Here we meet withthe priest to confess our sins and, through the Sacrament ofReconciliation or Penance, receive Gods forgiveness in theprayer of absolution.Chasuable - The word literally means little house. Worn atMass, it covers all the other vestments and its color changesaccording to the season of the Churchs year. This was originallya coat; it now symbolizes the garment of Christ who is the truecelebrant of every Eucharist.Ciborium - A container that holds the body of Christ.Cincture - A rope belt that is tied around the waist.
Altar Server’s DictionaryCope - A large, full-length cape, held by a clasp at the front,worn for Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament and on othersolemn occasions.Corporal - Its name comes from the Latin word corpusmeaning a body. It is a square of white cloth, on which thechalice and paten are placed during the Mass, to catch particlesof the Blessed Sacrament, should any fall from the vessels. Thecorporal is placed on the altar either before Mass begins orduring the preparation of the gifts.Credence table - The little wooden side table on which all thethings that are necessary for the Mass are placed.Crucifix - A cross on which is the figure of Jesus.
Altar Server’s DictionaryCruet - Small jug that contains water or wine for the Mass.Font - This is a pool or vessel of water in which people arebaptized. It reminds us of our baptism, when we were washedclean of sin and became a member of Gods family.Flagon - Large container that holds the wine that is carried inthe offertory procession.Gospel Book - A large decorated book containing only Gospelreadings for the Mass. The deacon usually carries it. If there isno deacon at the Mass then the Lector will carry the GospelBook.
Altar Server’s DictionaryHost - The consecrated Body of Christ.Humeral veil - A long rectangular garment, held by a clasp atthe front, worn by a priest or deacon when carrying a Ciboriumor Monstrance containing the Blessed Sacrament.Incense - A substance that gives off clouds of sweet smellingsmoke when sprin-kled onto burning charcoal.Incense Boat - So called because it is usually shaped like a boat,it contains the incense, which will be burned in the thurible.Lavabo Bowl and Towel - At the preparation of the gifts thepriest washes his hands to signify the cleansing of the sins ofthose gathered and to prepare him-self for what he is about todo.
Altar Server’s DictionaryLectern - The place from which the commentator and cantorministers.Lectionary - A book containing all the scripture readings forMass. It is placed on the lectern before Mass begins, or it may becarried in the entrance procession.Paten - A plate from which the communion is served.Presidential chair - The chair on which the Presider sits.
Altar Server’s DictionaryProcessional Cross - This is carried into church at the head of aprocession, as a sign of our faith, and is the basic symbol ofChristianity. It reminds us that Jesus died for us.Purificator - A cloth that is used to wipe the chalice each time itis used.Pyx: A small metal container, used to take Holy Communion tothe sick and housebound.Sacramentary - A book that the priest uses at his chair and atthe altar. It can also be called the Missal.
Altar Server’s DictionarySacristy - The room where the clergy and servers preparethemselves for the service.Sanctuary - Sacred part of the church where the Altar, Lecternand presiden-tial chair are.Sanctuary Lamp - The lamp that is kept burning on thesanctuary to show that the blessed sacrament is present.Stations of the Cross - These depict, usually in fourteen stages,the journey of Jesus to Calvary, his crucifixion on the cross andhis laying in the tomb.
Altar Server’s DictionaryStole - This important vestment, worn around the neck, showsthat the priest is celebrating one of the Sacraments. It also showsthat the priest has the duty to preach the Word of God.Tabernacle - The cupboard where we keep the consecratedbread.Thurible - The container inside which charcoal is burned, it issuspended from chains and is also swung during parts of theservice. This contains the burning charcoal on to which grains ofincense are placed. Incense has been used since early times tohonor people and things. For this reason during our worship weincense the people and priest, the altar, the Book of Gospels andthe Blessed Sacrament.Votive candles - These are burned at shrines and in front ofstatues to repre-sent the prayers and petitions of those who haveprayed there.
Before Mass:Arrive in sacristy at least 15 minutes before mass time.Wear long pants/slacks/dress (no shorts) and shoes;NEVER sneakers (unless they are completely black),sandals, clogs, or high heels). Select alb that fits.Sign in on schedule to indicate your attendance.Genuflect when passing tabernacle. Be in back of church 5minutes before mass time
Mass:Procession down aisleCandle bearers light candles. Lead server will processdown the aisle after the cantor begins to sing, candlebearers following. (If you are late and processional isabout to begin, do not run down side aisle to try to get inprocession. Wait in the altar sacristy and when priestascends altar, take your place.
Mass:Penitential Rite and Opening PrayerServer at the end of pew holds Sacramentary after priestsays, "Let us pray".
Mass:GospelAfter the Psalm is sung/read, Two Servers will go to the altarwhen the priest approaches the altar. Both immediately takeposition at the candles and wait till priest moves to ambo, thentake places for Gospel. After Gospel, Server return the candlesto their stands, and return to your seats on the altar.
Mass:OffertoryAfter the homily, place chalice, Sacramentary on altar.Gowith priest to receive wine and water cruets and ciboriumfrom gift bearers. Server with hosts, place on altar andproceed to Credence table to get ready with cruet of water.Servers with cruets go to altar, standing near altar andhold for priest to take. Server with wine cruet should beclosest to altar and hold it out first. When servers returnwith cruets, one should unfold towel and proceed to altarfor washing of hands.
Mass:Post CommunionAs priest is returning to altar after giving Communion,servers go to credence table bring water cruet to altar,passing in front of altar. When priest returns to his chair,return to pew.
Mass:After Mass:Return priest chalice, paten, cruets, purificator, towel,finger bowl and empty ciboriums to sacristy. Place usedpurificator and hand towel in laundry bin.Extinguish all candles. Either refill cruets for next mass,and place in refrigerator. Neatly hang alb.
Thank you for your interest in serving at Mass.If you have any questions about this material please ask thepastor, Fr. Andy to explain anything you do notunderstand.The next step in server instruction is to practice thedifferent actions that the altar server does during mass.Please call the rectory for a time to practice.