Altar Server Practical Guidelines


Louise Aulbach is the coordinator of the altar servers. (please consult the Parish Directory for Louise's contact information) Her responsibilities are:

1. Maintain an updated list of all servers' names and telephone numbers.

2. Distribute this list to all the servers.

3. Schedule two or more servers each Sunday.

4. Make sure that this schedule is printed in the Parish Newsletter.

The Altar Servers when the Mass starting

This is what each server should do:

1. Make sure you arrive to church at least 15 minutes before Mass begins. If you don't you may be replaced by another server. Make sure you have hymnals. Make sure you will sing - people will be watching you.

2. One server will ring the bells. Decide this during the 15 minutes BEFORE Mass.

3. Make sure you are dressed appropriately.

4. Get dressed in the sacristy. Get dressed in your tunic and put on a cross. Then wait outside on the bench right outside the sacristy. Do not interrupt Fr. Ron as he is getting ready for Mass. If you need a cross, see Louise.

5. The servers walk in with the priest and the reader. The altar servers go first, then the reader, then the priest(s).

6. When the servers arrive at the first step of the sanctuary, they will spread apart, giving enough room for the reader and priests to also stand in between them at the front of the steps.

7. When the priest arrives to the first step of the altar, he will bow. The servers bow with him.

8. The priest will go up to the altar. The servers go a little ahead of him, each one choosing different sides of the altar. They should go immediately up to their seats at the top of the stairs. They should keep singing.

9. After the opening prayer, the priest will sit down. The servers also sit down with him.

10. When the priest stands for the alleluia, the servers stand as well. However, they do not bow (if he prays with his head bowed) or follow him.

11. When the priest begins his homily, the servers sit. (And listen!)

12. When the priest begins the creed, the servers should be standing with him. They should also remain standing during the prayers of the faithful.

13. Then the priest will sit down for the offertory. He will then prepare the altar. This is done in two parts:

14. Part one: The priest brings down the book and places it on the altar. At the same time, the servers near the table bring him the following items: Two corporals (folded stiff cloths), the chalice, 4 gold cups, and the 5 purificators (cloths that look like napkins). The priest will set them on the altar in their proper place.

15. Part two: Then he will go down in order to receive the gifts and all the servers go along with him. The priest will take the gifts of bread and wine from a family and will give them to the servers. Wait at the bottom of the stairs with the priest until he turns to go up to the altar.

16. When you arrive at the altar, if you have a gift, stay to father's right hand side. If you don't have a gift, you may go to the table to get the water. DO NOT PLACE THE GIFTS ON THE ALTAR YOURSELVES. PLEASE WAIT UNTIL THE PRIEST TAKES THEM FROM YOU. The priest will take the bread first then the wine. After the priest lifts the bread up, he will prepare the chalice. THE SERVERS SHOULD HAVE THE SMALL SILVER PITCHER OF WATER READY TO HAND TO HIM. The priest will give the water back to a server. The priest will then lift up the chalice. Then, TWO SERVERS SHOULD WASH THE PRIEST'S HANDS. One server holds the water and the little bowl and the other servers holds the little towel. Pour the water generously.


18. Then return to the altar, servers on each side. You will remain standing until the Holy, Holy is sung. Once it is finished, both servers will move to the other side of the altar and KNEEL DOWN.

19. The server who is on the side with the bells must be ready to RING THE BELLS LOUDLY when the priest lifts up the bread and wine. DO NOT STOP RINGING UNTIL THE PRIEST PUTS THE BREAD/WINE BACK DOWN ON THE ALTAR. Both servers stay kneeling until the Our Father.

20. At the Our Father you stand. At the sign of peace, the servers first give the sign of peace to the priest, then to each other, and then they may go down and give it to their families or the people in the front pews.

21. The servers usually receive Communion after the Eucharistic Ministers do. They take the paten and go with the Minister who have the CUP (and if there are enough patens, also with the bread).

22. After Communion, they replace the patens on the table. As the priest gets ready to clean the chalice, one server brings him WATER. The priest will remove all the extra items from the altar and give them to you. Put them on the table. The servers then sit down and wait until the priest stands for the final prayer.

23. After the blessing and after the final song begins, the priest will kiss the altar. The servers may bow when he kisses the altar. The servers should then walk down the steps quickly and process out to the outside. Normally the priest will go outside. The servers should be the first ones out.

24. Afterwards, the servers may go return their tunics to the sacristy and then go to the patio to get their snack. It is free - you do not have to pay!