(Please insert in the Handbook for Parish Pastoral Leadership,
The ministry of altar server may be carried out by men and women, boys and girls. When
an instituted acolyte is not present, the altar server may take on the liturgical functions
acolyte listed in numbers 98-100 of the General Instruction to the Roman Missal. In the Archdiocese
of Santa Fe, keeping in mind priestly vocations, the Archbishop expects half of the servers
to be boys.
No distinction should be made between the functions carried out in the sanctuary
by men and
boys and those carried out by women and girls. The terms "altar boys" should be replaced
by "altar servers".
Servers should be mature enough to understand their responsibilities
and to carry them out well and with appropriate reverence. They should have already received
holy communion for the
first time and normally receive the eucharist whenever they participate in the liturgy.
should receive proper formation before they begin to function. The formation should include
education 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
liturgical celebrations. Servers should also receive appropriate guidance on maintaining proper
liturgical presence and attire when serving Mass and other functions.
Since the role of server
is integral to the normal celebration of the Mass, at least one server should assist the presider.
On Sundays and other more important occasions, two or more
should be employed to carry out the various functions.
Servers should normally be vested. This
is within the tradition of the Church and prevents difficulties regarding appropriate dress
for these ministers. All servers should wear the same
liturgical vesture. (The alb is the preferred vestment for servers. See GIRM 298).
the processional cross, the processional candles, hold the book for the presider when he is
not at the altar, carry the incense and censer, present the bread, wine, and water
to the presider during the preparation of the gifts or assist him when he receives the gifts
from the people, wash the hands of the presider, assist the presider and deacon as necessary.
respond to the prayers and dialogues of the presider along with the assembly. They also join
in singing the acclamations, the psalm refrain, the hymns and other chants of the
Servers should be seated in a place from which they can easily assist the presider
and deacon. The place next to the presider is normally reserved for the deacon.
Servers may not
distribute holy communion unless they have been mandated for this function.
The Order for the
Blessing of Altar Servers, Sacristans, Musicians, and Ushers (Book of Blessings, nos. 1847-1870)
may be used before servers first begin to function in this ministry.
Office of Worship and Christian Initiation