Altar Server Ministry PDF Print E-mail

Altar Server Ministry
Has your son or daughter shown an intrest in becoming an Altar Server here at St. Joseph's ?


Annual Corpus Christi Mass & Outdoor Procession


Altar Server Commissioning Mass - May, 2013


Altar Server Event Photos


Altar Servers have a place of prominence and distinction in the celebration of the Holy Eucharist. They assist the priest as he leads God's people in this great act of worship of God, our Father.

Altar Servers should strive to grasp the inner meaning of the Eucharist and the ceremonies which the Church devised to enhance this sacred meal.

The role of altar servers is to bring the assembly to a fuller understanding of the liturgy and so to a greater love for God. They do this through the actions they perform and by the way in which they perform them. Their behavior can be a sign of their faith and their love for God and for God's people.*

On August 12, 2001, Pope John Paul II addressed a gathering of young altar servers in Rome and in part said,

"The altar server occupies a privileged place in the liturgical celebration. The altar server presents himself to a community and experiences firsthand that Jesus Christ is present and active in every liturgical act. Jesus is present when the community comes together to pray and render praise to God.

Jesus is present in the Word of sacred Scripture. Jesus is present above all in the Eucharist under the signs and bread and wine. He acts through the priest who, in the person of Christ, celebrates the holy Mass and administers the sacraments.

Therefore, in the liturgy, you are much more than simple 'helpers of the parish priest'. Above all, you are servers of Jesus Christ, of the eternal High Priest. Thus, you, altar servers, are called in particular to be young friends of Jesus. Be determined to go deeper and to cultivate this friendship with Him. You will discover that in Jesus you have found a true friend for life."**

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What are the requirements needed to serve ?

For boys and girls who wish to serve in the altar server ministry, please keep the following guidelines in mind:

+ You must have made your First Holy Communion through 12th grade, be a student at St. Joseph School or parishioner at St. Joseph Church. Servers should be mature enough to understand their responsibilities and carry them out well and with appropriate reverence.

+ Servers receive proper formation before they begin to function. Altar Server training meetings are every 2nd and 4th Saturday morning of the month at 8:00 AM in the church hall for approximately an hour and one half. Formation includes instruction on the Mass and its parts and their meaning, the various objects used in the liturgy (their names and use), and the various functions of the server during the Mass and other liturgical celebrations. Servers receive guidance on maintaining proper decorum and attire when serving Mass and other functions. There are many details which are discussed at each meeting.

+ After sufficient training, new altar servers will be commissioned during Mass with a special blessing from the priest on a date to be announced.

+ Altar Server meetings also serve as a community. We would like to incorporate activities to share time to get to know each other. We are thinking of excursions to various nearby shrines and perhaps a yearly family picnic. Ideas are welcome and plans will be forthcoming.

If you are interested in becoming an altar server, please contact

Mrs. Stephanie Wearne (860) 559-5776

"The altar server often has a candlestick in his hand. How can one not think of that which Jesus says in the Sermon on the Mount: "You are the light of the world" (Matthew 5:14). Your service cannot be limited to the inside of a church. It must shine in everyday life: In school, in the family, and in different realms of society. Because, whoever wishes to serve Jesus Christ inside a church must be his witness everywhere."

~ Pope John Paul II, August 12, 2001 address to altar servers.

* "The Acolyte Today" Rev. 1992 Published by Franklin X. McCormick C.1980
** U.S.C.C.B. August 2001 BCL Newsletter
U.S.C.C.B. Guidelines for Altar Server according to the General Instruction of the Roman Missal



Glossary - What Certain Things Are Called:

( What Altar Servers need to know)


Alb The white gown that you will wear just as the priest and deacons does.

Ambo or Lectern Where the lector stands to read the Scripture readings and the priest or deacon proclaims the Gospel.

Aspergillum The liturgical instrument used to sprinkle people and objects with holy water.

Boat A small liturgical vessel containing the incense that will be used with the thurible.

Chalice A cup that Father will use to consecrate the wine into the Blood of Christ.

Ciborium A cup, which looks similar to a chalice, but is used to store consecrated hosts in the Tabernacle. A Ciborium has a lid where as a chalice does not.

Cincture A belt made out of cloth worn around your waist; it acts like a belt.

Corporal A small cloth that sits on top of the altar where the priest places the chalice, paten, and flagon. Its purpose is to catch any small crumbs of the Blessed Sacrament that may fall onto the altar.

Credence Table The table that has the chalices, Communion bowls or patens, finger bowl, water cruet and finger towel.

Cruet The little pitcher that hold either water or wine for use during the Mass.

Finger Towel A towel that Father will use to dry his hands.

Flagon or Flask The large glass decanter that holds the wine at Mass.

Lectionary A large red book that contains the Scripture readings and Psalms for the Liturgy.

Monstrance Special large holder on a pedestal for the Blessed Sacrament for Exposition.

Offertory Table The table behind the last pew by the main entrance doors where the gifts are placed.

Paten A small dish or bowl that holds the bread that will be used during Mass.

Purificators The small towels that are used to clean the chalices during the distribution of the Precious Blood at communion

Sacramentary The large red book from which the priest prays during Mass.

Sacristan The person who takes care of the sacred vessels and vestments used at Mass.

Sacristy The portion of the Church building where the priests, deacons, servers, and lectors meet to vest and prepare themselves for Mass.

Sanctuary The area of the Church that contains the altar and the ambo.

Thurible A metal vessel for the ceremonial burning of incense. The thurible is also known as a censer.

Thurifer The one who carries the thurible and boat when needed.