Altar Servers

"To serve at the altar, as to sing in the choir, is next to the priesthood the highest privilege which a human can enjoy. He represents the faithful and takes a most intimate part in the rich treasures of the church's liturgy and ceremonial. Those sacred ceremonies should be carried out with devotion, dignity, and attention to detail."

~ Bernard Cardinal Griffin of Westminster

 

About the Ministry

St. Mark Church invites all young people, 3rd grade and higher, to become altar servers. This ministry is a special opportunity to participate in the Mass in a unique way and grow closer to God and the community through service. As a parish community, we are pleased to have many devoted young people who serve at the altar.

The role of the Altar Server is to assist the Priest, who leads the worship of the Church.  It is the Altar Server’s job to assist the Priest so that worship is performed in a reverent, efficient, and beautiful manner.  This means that the altar server must trained properly so that he/she can perform these duties with dignity and devotion as deserving of our Lord.

The Server’s first responsibility is to pray.  Serving at the altar is not our main purpose – we are first at Mass to worship Almighty God.  The second purpose is to assist the Priest.  Both of these goals must work together.  We must never just serve the Mass; our service of the Mass must be guided by prayer and love of God.

Training

Training is held twice a year during the months of May and October and consists of four 120-minute sessions in the evening. Training during other parts of the year may be arranged by special request. 

Responsibilities

Altar Servers are responsible for assisting the Priest at Mass. This entails carrying the processional cross and candles, bringing the Roman Missal to the Priest, helping to set and clear the altar, ringing the altar bells, and participating in the Mass itself.

Requirements

Generally, after the child has receive their First Holy Communion, they become eligible to be trained as Altar Servers.

Origins of the Ministry

In the early Church, Acolytes were adult men who were preparing to become Deacons and Priests. As a shortage of Acolytes became apparent the Altar Server Ministry was created to aid parish communities in the celebration of the Sacred Liturgy. Until the Second Vatican Council, only boys could be servers, because only men could be priests. Today, only men can be priests, but now servers do not need to be studying for the priesthood in order to serve in this ministry.  In 1994, an indult was granted allowing girls to assist the Priest at Mass where there was a need. 

To be an Altar Server is both an honor and a privilege. Pope St. John Paul II once said to Altar Servers: “Your commitment to the altar is not only a duty, but a great honor, a genuine holy service… The Altar Server occupies a privileged place in the liturgical celebration… 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.” (General Audience, August 1, 2001). 

At St. Mark Church, Altar Servers serve the people of God in a variety of liturgical celebrations, including: weekend Masses, holy days of obligation, weddings, funerals, Holy Hours, Stations of the Cross, prayer services, penance services, and parish mission services. Altar Servers also participate in different activities within the parish community. 

 

If you are interested in volunteering, please contact Peter Brissette at 401-942-1616 Ext. 308
or peter08091994@gmail.com.  You can also use our Contact Form.