Altar Server Information

Become an Altar Server

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The Qualities of an Altar Server

In our journey to the centre of the Mass we need to get one thing straight: every altar server is a real explorer, and together we will try to understand how you can become one too. So, what kind of person is a server explorer?

Every server first and foremost must have a sense of reverence and respect. When we are visitors in someone’s house, we ought to show respect and visiting the house of God’s is no different. We must remind ourselves that the real presence of Jesus dwells within the church, in the tabernacle. The rubrics of the church state that the ministers, which would include servers, genuflect to the Tabernacle, IF it is in the sanctuary, at the beginning and end of Mass, and bow to the altar during the course of the Mass. This is due to the fact that the Mass is an unfolding mystery of Christ, first His Word in the Scripture, then His Sacrifice on the Altar, His Communion with us, and finally His abiding Presence.

Outside of Mass, however, the normal tradition applies, we genuflect whenever we cross before the Lord. The very fact that genuflection at the beginning and end of Mass is obliged shows that the special rubrics, meant to sacramentally unfold the mystery of the Eucharist, apply only during the Mass.

So, as they set up the altar before Mass, the servers and others should continue to genuflect. The exception would be when impeded, such as carry chalices and the like, when there is danger of dropping them. They may bow in such a circumstance. Otherwise, at the Offertory and during the Mass generally, when approaching and departing the altar they bow.

If the tabernacle with the Most Blessed Sacrament is present in the sanctuary, the priest, the deacon, and the other ministers genuflect when they approach the altar and when they depart from it, but not during the celebration of Mass itself. Otherwise all who pass before the Most Blessed Sacrament genuflect, unless they are moving in procession. Ministers carrying the processional cross or candles bow their heads instead of genuflecting.

Every server has to be curious when seeing a friend up there by the altar, or at a priest’s invitation to join the parish group. Curiosity in getting to know the gestures of the priest as he celebrates, the objects, every moment of the liturgical celebration leads directly to the treasure that is the goal of our journey: Jesus!
Server-explorers know that they are “on a mission” and nothing can stop them, not even the temptation to sleep a little longer on a Sunday! Generosity is the beautiful quality that brings you to church before Mass begins so that you can help the sacristan prepare the altar. the books, the vestments, the candles. There is a lot of work to do to help your community celebrate the Mass well!
Just like with the great explorers, during Mass too the unexpected can happen, and we must not panic! It can happen, for example that the candles haven’t been lit or the microphones have not been switched on. The careful and prepared altar server always knows what to do and how to help the priest without distracting the whole congregation.
There is just no other way to be! This is a MUST for all server-explorers. Kindness and Joy always bring a smile to the sacristy and the church, expressing the happiness of serving Jesus in such an important moment as the Mass. The kindness of the altar server must be contagious so the whole group can come together like a football team or an orchestra where everyone knows they are doing their duty and “playing their part”, working joyfully together with the others!
In our journey to the centre of the Mass, there is no showing up late. Showing up early is a sign of respect for the priest and your community, but above all for you as an altar server, because being on time means being able to prepare to encounter Jesus who is celebrated in the Eucharist.
What does this mean? It means that as a server-explorer you embody generosity, punctuality, care and kindness not so that you can show off in front of everyone at the altar, but so you can be like Jesus taught us to be at the Last Supper. Jesus gave us a priceless example of service: you must live the mission of an altar server with the joy of doing the simplest things well, knowing how to thank those who teach you and, when your turn comes, training new servers with openness and friendship.

Priest & Deacon Vestments

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Bishop's Vestments


This is a Roman Catholic cleric's skullcap: black for a priest, purple for a bishop, red for a cardinal, and white for the Pope.It is worn at all times during a liturgical ceremony with two exceptions; it is removed in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament and it is removed during the Mass at the Eucharistic Prayer and placed on the Bishop's Chair.


The Mitre is a tall folding cap, made of two similar parts rising to a peak and sewn together at the sides. Two short lappets always hang down from the back. The Mitre is the traditional, head-dress of a Bishop. It is very ornate. It is the symbol of the Bishop's authority as the teacher of the diocese. Some say that the two parts joined at the sides represent the Old and the New Testaments.


The Crozier is a Staff with a hook at the top, used by a Bishop. It symbolizes that the Bishop is the Shepherd of the Church.

Pectoral Cross

A pectoral cross or pectorale is a cross that is worn on the chest, usually suspended from the neck by a cord or chain. In ancient and medieval times pectoral crosses were worn by both clergy and laity, but by the end of the Middle Ages the pectoral cross came to be a special indicator of position worn by the clergy and bishops.

Episcopal Ring

Episcopal rings of the bishops and archbishops. The bishop, named by the pope but consecrated by his immediate superior cardinal or archbishop, is privileged to wear the ring that is awarded to him by the cardinal. The style of the episcopal ring has almost always been very large, gold or stone-set ring.

Liturgical Objects

These are two small receptacles, usually made of glass, one contains wine and the other water. They are brought to the altar during the offertory.
Liturgical Bowl
A Glass bowl is brought to the priest immediately after the preparation of the gifts which the priest uses to wash his hands. A Lavabo towel is also brought with the bowl to the priest.
A metal cup usually made of Gold or Gold-plated, that is used by the priest to consecrate the wine so that it becomes the blood of Christ.
This is a metal container, usually made of Gold or gold-plated or silver. It is used by the priest to hold the consecrated hosts given to the congregation during Holy Communion. It is also used to store the remainder of the Consecrated Eucharistic Hosts afterwards in the tabernacle.
Altar Paten
A small plate, usually made of Gold our gold-plated metal, on which is placed the large host that the priest consecrates during Mass.
Altar Server's Paten
This is usually a gold-plated or silver plate that is used by the altar server to catch fragments of consecrated Eucharistic Host as the priest passes it to the communicant.
Used to expose the Eucharist for the adoration of the faithful. It has a small circular window in the centre in which the consecrated Host is placed.
Processional Cross
This is fastened to a pole. It is used during the procession in and out of the church.
Processional Candles
Objects, metal or wood, in which candles are placed. They are carried during the entrance procession and for the reading of the Gospel and for the Recession back to the sacristy.
This is used for sprinkling Holy Water
Metal Receptacle with chains attached. Charcoal is lit inside it for burning incense. The thurible is held in the right hand. The left hand is place on your chest.
Incense Boat
A Metal Container to accompany the thurible in the shape of a little boat to hold the grains of incense.
Small square cloth, starched and cleaned. It is placed folded on top of the chalice and at the offertory it is unfolded on the altar. The chalice, paten and ciborium are placed upon it. It catches any fragments of the consecrated host or drops of wine that might fall.
A square card covered with a cloth that is placed over the chalice.
A small linen cloth used to dry and purify the chalice. It is usually placed on top of the chalice when it is brought to the altar.

The Church Sanctuary

Altar Servers Prayers

Discovering the precious treasure at the centre of the Mass

Prayer Mass

God our Father we thank you for the privilege of serving at your Altar. Help us to be reverent and attentive in your house. Help us to listen carefully to your Word and so be an example to others. Amen

Prayer Mass

We ask you Lord to remain with us throughout this day. To bless us and guide us always in your ways. Keep us close to you always. We ask this through Christ Our Lord. Amen