ALTAR SERVERS MINISTRY
Dear Altar Servers, you are, in fact, already apostles of Jesus! When you take part in the Liturgy by carrying out your altar service, you offer a witness to all. Your absorption, the devotion that wells up from your heart and is expressed in gestures, in song, in the responses: if you do it correctly and not absent-mindedly, then in a certain way your witness is one that moves people.
The Eucharist is the source and summit of the bond of friendship with Jesus. You are very close to Jesus in the Eucharist, and this is the most important sign of his friendship for each one of us. Do not forget it.
-excerpt from Pope Benedict XVI, Address to Altar Servers, August 2, 2006
All actions should be done deliberately, thoroughly and without hurry, but not slowly. All the words should be spoken audibly, each syllable articulated, every sentence reverently pronounced.
The Hands, when serving, should be held together on the breast, palm to palm, with the fingers extended and close together pointing upwards, the thumbs being crossed right over left.
When one hand is being used, the other should lie with the open palm upon the breast.
When not employed the hands may be held merely folded together right over left against the front of the body at the height of the elbows.
HOW TO SERVE AND PRAY AT LOW MASS
Arrive in good time.
If you have to pass through the church, kneel down, pray to Our Lord and say your Guild Prayers before Serving.
If you enter by the sacristy, vest first, and then go into church or a side-chapel and say your prayers.
Always walk slowly and reverently. Genuflect to the ground, keeping your body upright, and facing forward.
Prepare the cruets; light the candles beginning by the one at the Epistle side; prepare your book if you use one. Help the priest to vest.
If you are not serving at the Blessed Sacrament Altar, tell the priest if you or other people want Holy Communion, stating the number. If you forget this, you can still present altar-breads to the priest up till the Offertory, or even any time before the Elevation.
Never talk or play in the sacristy.
When the priest is ready for Mass, take the Missal if this is the custom, bow to the Cross, and precede the priest, offering him Holy Water with your right hand and then making the sign of the Cross yourself. Ring the sacristy bell if this is the custom. If you are carrying the Missal, lean it on your left arm to do all these actions.
DEVOTIONAL PRAYERS FOR ALTAR SERVERS
Blessed be Jesus Who has come to visit me. Hosanna! Hosanna! Hosanna!
O Jesus, I believe that Thou art my God and sovereign Lord: I adore Thee; it is my joy to know and serve Thee. I thank Thee for making a friend of me in spite of my unworthiness.
Lord Jesus, let me feel the sweetness of Thy presence; may I love Thee ardently all this day and for ever. Sweet Jesus, be my secret, my treasure, my Friend, and my strength for today and all my life.
I am forgetful, thoughtless, and weak; sometimes even willful: check me and remind me of Thy Love.
I have often sinned in the past; but I trust Thou hast forgiven me. Oh! If only I had never offended Thee, how happy I would be. Give me Thy sanctifying grace and keep me faithful and sinless for this day and every day.
For all Thy mercies unto me, sweetest Jesus, I praise Thee and honor Thee with all my heart.
For Thy own greatness and power, I bless, praise, and glorify Thee.
Additional Resources for Altar Servers Ministry
Responsibilities of Altar Servers
Attend Holy Mass on every Sunday and Holy Day of Obligation when physically possible.
Receive the Sacrament of Reconciliation regularly.
Cultivate a personal prayer life within the Church. Lifting up the mind toward God is an expression of our adoration of God ...
Altar Servers' Guide
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 (hymns, responses, etc.), by looking alert and sitting or standing at the appropriate times.