The ministry of Altar Server
The ministry of Altar Server is believed to have existed, in various forms, from as early as the third century in the Latin Church.
Altar Servers have an active role in the Order of the Mass every Sunday and on special feasts and occasions. They assist Father during the Mass. Equally as important, they assist the community in prayer through their actions and symbolism.
The volunteering Altar Server enters a ministry of service, reverence, dedication and commitment. Holy Spirit Parish recognises that the commitment by the Server is very much a commitment by the Server's family.
Becomming an Altar Server
Father recruits new Servers after they have made their First Eucharist (from Grade 4). He visits them in the classroom and gives them an invitation letter to become Servers. Parents’ permission is required.
Training is undertaken over three weekly sessions with parish House staff and parishoners assisting Father.
Servers are then "commissioned" at a 10.30 mass once training is complete (mid to late October). New Servers come onto the November roster, always paired with an experienced server.
Depending on the Mass, there are usually 2 to 5 Servers and the rostering cycle is 3 to 5 weeks apart. The Server may nominate their preferred mass time to serve.
Rosters are prepared each school term and sent via the School tote system or, where the Server is not a student of Holy Spirit School, are mailed out.
A Server that cannot attend on their rostered day should arrange a swap with another Server or, failing that, advise the Parish House staff. The Parish recognises the importance of families' attendance at mass with their Altar Server children, especially with regard to transport and punctuality.
Alter Servers are encouraged to offer to serve at another Mass when they recognise that Father does not have enough Servers.
Servers should attend the Church 10-15 minutes before Mass starts. They are on duty from the time they enter the sanctuary at the start of Mass until they finish cleanup after the end of Mass
The Role of Alter Server
The primary role of the altar server is to assist Father 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.
Before Mass starts, Servers make sure the candles on the Altar are lit, that the Bell is on the Credence Table along with the 3 silver chalices, 4 purifiers, Father’s gold chalice, finger bowl and towel. Also check that the table at the back of the Church has the cruets and the hosts ready for the Offertory Procession. Mass Captains usually set these up, however, and the Servers double check.
Servers carry the processional candles, hold the book for the Father when he is not at the altar, carry the incense and censer, present the bread, wine, and water to Father during the preparation of the gifts or assist him when he receives the gifts from the people, when he washes his hands and as he directs.
During the Mass the Servers' duty station is the sanctuary and a Server may not leave the sanctuary except as directed by Father.
Whatever is worn underneath an alb will show through. Servers should wear white or solid colors.
Holy Spirit Parish is grateful for its Altar Servers and appreciates that they serve with great pride and dedication.