Ministry of Altar Serving
St. Peter Roman Catholic Church offers young Catholics an opportunity to grow in their faith and to become more active in the Mass by serving as Altar Servers. Altar Servers are young people who assist the Priest and / or the Deacon during Mass.
Altar Servers perform most of the functions of the former “minor order” of ordained clerics known as Acolytes, from the Greek word akolouthos or attendant. Church writings from the second and third centuries discuss the roles of acolytes, giving the office great importance and honor in the history of the Church. Although institution into the Ministry of Acolyte is reserved to lay men, Diocesan Bishops may permit the liturgical functions of the instituted Acolyte to be carried out by Altar Servers, men and women, boys and girls. Altar Servers are not ordained, but “commissioned” by their parish priest.
It is a treat honor and privilege to serve at the Altar of our God, as Pope Saint John Paul II indicated in his inspiring address to Altar Servers on August 1, 2001. In that address, the Pope encouraged Altar Servers to understand the responsibility they have in this service to the Church. He said, “the Altar Server has a privileged place in liturgical celebrations. Those who serve at Mass present themselves to a community. They experience from close at hand that Jesus Christ is present and active in every liturgy … In the liturgy, you are far more than ‘helpers of the parish priest,’ above all, you are servants of Jesus Christ, the eternal High Priest.”
The primary role of the altar server is to assist the priest in the celebration of the liturgy during Mass. This is done through specific actions and by setting an example to the congregation by active participation in the liturgy (singing, responding, etc.), by looking alert, and standing, sitting, or kneeling at the appropriate times.
Servers carry the cross, the processional candles, hold the book (Sacramentary) for the priest when he is not at the altar, carry the incense and censer, present the bread, wine, and water to the priest during the Preparation of the Gifts, or assist him when he receives the gifts from the people. They wash the hands of the priest and assist the priest celebrant and deacon as necessary.
Here at St. Peter, young men and women who have received Holy Communion and are in fourth (4th) grade, are eligible to become Altar Servers. Altar Servers are more than welcome to serve through their senior year of high school and beyond.
Altar Server Notes ...
The St. Peter Altar Server Ministry has a new e-mail address. Any concerns or questions ... any problems with the Altar Server schedule ... please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you are no longer interested in being an Altar Server, please let the Rectory know and please return your Altar Server garments. Thank you!