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  • Albany, Oregon

Altar Servers

Thank you for your willingness to serve our parish community. Your role is very important to the Mass.

What does an Altar Server do?

An altar server is a lay assistant to the priest during the Mass or to other members of the clergy in other religious functions including Benediction and Eucharistic Adoration. Traditionally, the role of altar server had always been reserved to males. The thought was that by serving at the altar, a young man is better able to discern the priesthood since he is involved with the Liturgy.

To serve at the altar is one of the greatest sources of graces. The altar server assists the priest at the Sacred Liturgy; he is privileged to walk into the sanctuary. Remember, the Mass is the Sacrifice of Calvary. It is not a memorial but rather the Mass truly is the Sacrifice of Calvary.

For that reason, all altar servers must display the utmost respect and reverence. All servers must listen attentively during the Mass and should remain in a state of prayer with their hands in a prayer position. Talking amongst each other is absolutely forbidden. Likewise, servers should wear proper shoes and never flip-flops, sandals, boots, or gym shoes.

An altar server must also learn the proper name for all of the items used during the Liturgy. Servers must ensure that no particle of Our Lord’s Body or Blood falls to the ground. Furthermore, they must know the basic prayers of the Mass at least in the vernacular and perhaps some of them in Latin. He/She must have a basic understanding of the Catholic Faith and understand the Sacraments, especially the Eucharist. At the Consecration, the Bread and Wine become Jesus Christ. You should humble yourself and bow your head before the power of God. You are assisting at the Holy of Holies. Display reverence and worship Our God.

The Grace of Serving at the Altar

Undoubtedly, altar servers receive countless blessings from Almighty God from serving devoutly at Mass. Even attending Holy Mass is the source of numerous graces. It is certainly more grace-filled for altar servers.

(see https://acatholiclife.blogspot.com/2007/05/historyand-graces-received from-altar.html Scroll down and find Altar Servers on the right-hand column)

Altar Server Qualifications

Altar Servers should:

  • be baptized Catholics, who have received their first Holy Communion.
  • be mature enough to understand their responsibilities, and carry them out with appropriate reverence.
  • be individuals who strive to live a moral and faithful life.
  • receive Holy Communion in the masses they serve, so they should go to regular confession and maintain themselves in a state of grace.
  • be well instructed in what they are called to do, including proper behavior and attire.
  • be able to respond appropriately to the parts of the mass, both recited prayers and various sung parts of the mass.