Sacred Heart & St Pius Xth, Clifton Diocese
Sacred Heart & St Pius Xth, Clifton Diocese

The Ministerial Role of the Altar Server

Servers hold the book while the presiding priest proclaims the presidential prayers with outstretched hands. They bring and hold such things as books, thuribles, water jug and towel, plates and dishes, and microphones. They lead the entrance and concluding processions with the cross and candles; they escort the deacon (or priest) to the ambo and stand at his side while he proclaims the Gospel reading. They may, on more solemn occasions, accompany the procession with the gifts. They look after the thurible, prepare it for the priest or deacon and themselves may incense the assembly and other ministers.


The number of servers will depend on the circumstances and the tasks to be performed.


Celebrating The Mass 47


When the celebration of Mass is interrupted by things not being in the right place at the right time, it will usually distract people from their praying of the Mass. The servers' key role is to make sure that things run smoothly without distraction.


Servers are in a very visible role and it is important for the same reason that when they have no particular serving to do, they serve by simply joining in the prayer of the Mass with everyone else. That way if people do notice the servers they will receive a good example - the servers are still serving the assembly but in another way!

Are you called to serve in this way?

In both parishes, we encourage our younger people once they have made their First Holy Communion to become Altar Servers.


After training, they are comissioned to join the St Stephens Guild for Altar Servers and receive a medal to wear with their albs. 


Once the servers are ready they come together in prayer before and after the celebration. This means they need to be supported to be good timekeepers and arrive with plenty of time to prepare.


This ministry is not confined just to our young people. There are occasions when they are not available such as most of our funerals where it would be great to have someone to serve and in particular to look after the thurible.


Our longest serving member of the team has recently stood down in his 80's having served since he was a boy!


Contact Deacon Mark at Sacred Heart     


           or Kingsley Orji  at St Pius Xth

Preparing to Serve

  • It is helpful to ook at the readings and prayers of the Mass and use them in your prayer.
  • Reflect on how they speak of the love of God for all and at the sort of live they invite us to live.
  • Spend time praying for yourself and all the other ministers at Mass - that the service you will offer together will help the whole congregation celebrate Mass well.
  • Ask God for the grace to be attentive both as a minister and as a member of the assemby.
  • Ensure that you will be ready for Mass in good time to help with any things which need to be done before Mass can start.

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© St Pius X Catholic Church & Sacred Heart are part of Clifton Diocese (a company limited by guarantee) registered in England and Wales under number 10462076 | Registered Charity No. 1170168 | Registered Office: St. Ambrose, North Road, Leigh Woods, Bristol, BS8 3PW