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The acolyte is instituted for service at the altar and to assist the Priest. It is his or her place principally to prepare the altar and the sacred vessels. The liturgical functions of the instituted acolyte [are permitted] to be carried out by altar servers, men and women (General Instruction to the Roman Missal 98 and U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops).
By carrying out the functions of the instituted acolyte (literally, “one who follows”), servers allow the priest to focus on his role of presiding during the sacred liturgy. Servers also enhance the solemnity of the liturgy by carrying the crucifix, candlesticks, and censer during processions. Since servers are lay people who are carrying out specific functions during the liturgy, their participation helps reveal that the liturgy is the work of the entire people of God.
- Carrying the processional cross, candles, and on occasion, the censer during processions.
- Placing the sacred vessels, linens, and the bread and wine on the altar.
- Assisting the priest when he receives the gifts and when he washes his hands.
- Taking the sacred vessels and linens from altar and placing them on the credence table after Communion.
After attending the training session and with the ongoing guidance of the Coordinator of Liturgy, servers will:
- Move with the grace and reverence that befits the sacred liturgy and does not distract from it.
- Arrange the sacred vessels and linens on altar according to the rubrics of the Roman Missal and the Chapel’s Servers’ Manual.
- React to the needs of the priest and the other lay ministers, assisting them as directed.
Servers must attend an hour-long training session at the beginning of the semester. In addition to the initial training, there will be rehearsals for major liturgies (e.g., Easter Vigil, etc.).
Servers must arrive at least fifteen minutes before their scheduled liturgy. If you cannot serve at your scheduled liturgy, you must find a substitute from the roster of servers.
- Fully initiated Catholic.
- Willingness to give faithful service to God and the Christian people.
- Wear dress shoes and clothing that is appropriate to the sacred liturgy (“Sunday best”).
- Understanding of particular responsibilities during Mass.
- A sense of reverence and proper decorum.
- Complete a training session.
Fill out the Becoming Involved in Liturgy Form to get started.
For more information contact Dr. John Paul Salay, Coordinator of Liturgy and RCIA.