Preparation Prior to Mass
Arrive at least 10 - 15 minutes before mass. Introduce yourself to the Priest (and Deacon) who is celebrating mass. Put on your cassock and cross. Prepare the candles which are carried by the First and Second servers. If there is only one server, the candles are not carried but the cross may be carried in the procession and placed in its stand during the mass. At the back of the church, the Altar servers stand as follows: Lead carries the Cross and leads the procession. First server with a candle on the right side. Second server with a candle on the left side and will be responsible for ringing the bells during the Consecration. Wait quietly until it is time to form the entrance procession. Never leave the candles unattended.
The Servers are first in the entrance procession. Once the priest signals you, walk SLOWLY down the aisle, First and Second should keep in line with each other. Once you reach the Sanctuary, stop. Move apart so that the priest, deacon and readers may step between the Servers, forming a line facing the altar. Bow your head when the priest bows. *** Attention: Do not bow with the candles. It could be dangerous!***
Entering the Sanctuary
Following the priest up onto the Sanctuary,. The Lead and First go around the right side of the altar and the Second server goes around the left hand side. Lead places the Cross in its stand. First and Second place the candles on the gift table and then stand in front of the Altar Servers' chairs.**Do not put the candles too close to any banners that may be hanging over the gift table.
Children's Liturgy ( 10:00 & 11:30 masses )
When the Priest calls the children up to the front for a blessing before he sends them off to Children's Liturgy, the Lead takes the Cross and stands half way up the centre aisle. Father will then tell the children to follow the Cross out of the church. The Lead will then lead the children out of the Church and into the Narthex.(Lobby) Leave the Cross in the Narthex until the Offertory Procession.
During the Gospel acclamation (Alleluia), First and Second Servers pick up the candles and follow the Priest or Deacon to the pulpit, making sure not to cross in front of the Priest or Deacon. Stand one on each side of the pulpit, facing each other. Note: If there is only one Server, then the candles are not used and the Server DOES NOT go the pulpit. Hold the candles with one hand on the bottom and the other hand half way up the stem of the candle stick. Although the candles can be heavy, try very hard to remain still during the reading of the Gospel. Once the Gospel is over, the Priest or Deacon begins the Homily. Return the candles to the gift table. Sit down and listen to the Homily. Try not to yawn or fidget, . Try to remember you are serving the Lord and concentrate on what the priest or deacon is saying.. After the Homily, a reader recites the Prayers of the Faithful (for example: Let us pray for the sick in our parish etc.). Near the end of these prayers, the lead should take the intention basket from the altar and stand near the priest, who will bless the intentions. Then return the intention basket to the altar.
Preparing the Altar
During the collection, the Lead Server takes the chalice and places it on the side of the altar.
The Lead Server will go and get the Cross when s/he sees the collection baskets being distributed. The Lead stops at the front of the altar, bows and then turns and walks down the main aisle to lead the Offertory Procession. After the collection, the Offertory Procession will form at the back of the church. ( At this time the children are returning from their Children's Liturgy during the 9:45 and 11:15 masses. Father will either motion for the children to come ahead of the Offertory Procession if collection is not finished, or the children line up behind and follow the Offertory Procession into the church.) When the Priest gets up to move to the front of the altar, the Servers go with him to receive the gifts. First server passes on the right side and Second on the left side- remembering not to cross in front of Father. Take a position on either side of Father and he will hand each server either the cruets of water and wine. On Father's cue, turn, go back onto the altar (on the same side you came down on.) The Server with the ciborium places it on the altar and the Server with the cruets places them on the gift table.
Presenting the Wine and Water
The Lead Server removes the lids from the water and wine. When the priest walks to the side of the altar with the chalice, the Lead Server gives the wine cruet to Father and then the water cruet. The cruets are returned to the gift table.
Washing of the Priest's Hands
First picks up the dish and finger towel. Second picks up the water cruet. Bring these to the altar. Second pours the water slowly over the Priest's fingers (remembering to leave enough water so that the Priest or Deacon can clean the chalice after communion), then give him the finger towel. When the Priest is finished with the towel, return the cruet, dish and towel to the gift table.
Before the Priest begins to consecrate the host (i.e., at the beginning of the "Holy, Holy"), All Servers move down to the front of the altar. (Line up in front of the altar) When the congregation kneels after the "Holy, Holy" all Servers kneel as well. When the Priest raises the consecrated host, the Body of Christ, the Second Server rings the bells. When the Priest raises the Chalice, the Blood of Christ, the Second Server rings the bells again. Note: The Bells are rung for the ENTIRE time the Body and Blood of Christ are held up by the Priest. Do not stop ringing the bells until the Priest has lowered the Body and Blood. When the congregation stands, the Servers return to their places.
Leading the Ciborium
At the "Our Father", First and Second Servers take the candles and proceed down the far right aisle to the Tabernacle. Wait for the Minister of the Cup and then lead the minister with the Ciborium down the centre aisle and up to the altar, remembering to split (First on the right hand side and Second on the left hand side), and go up onto the Sanctuary. Return the candles to the gift table. Note: at 9:45 and 11:15 When Father invite the children up around the altar for the "Our Father", the First and Second Servers should take their candles and move. Other wise, the First and Second Servers will be surrounded by children holding hands.
At the end of the "Lamb of God", Lead removes the covers from the communion plates and then puts the plates on the altar. Lead moves over to stand in front of the cross to receive communion. After you have received communion, take the cross a stand ready. First and Second, stand in front of your chair, the priest will bring you communion (in both forms). Once the ministers of the cup have received communion and they are ready, Lead should process to the back of the Annex. (When the ministers of the cup have finished serving the people in the Annex, they will go to the front to either help the Priest or return to the Sanctuary. Lead should then go to the back of the church to wait for communion to finish . Once the priest turns to return to the sanctuary, lead should bring the cross up the centre aisle.) When the Priest and Deacon go to the front of the altar to give out communion, First and Second return to their chairs and sit quietly.
Purifying the Chalice
After communion is over, and at the signal from the Priest or Deacon (he may hold the chalice towards the Servers,) Second brings the water cruet to the altar. Return the cruet to the gift table.
Undressing the Altar
After the Priest or Deacon purifies the chalice, he will put it at the side of the altar. Both Servers remove the communion plates and the chalice from the altar and put them on the gift table. Wait until the chalice and plates are put to the side before removing them.
After the dismissal ( the Priest or Deacon says 'Go in the Peace of Christ), the Servers pick up the candles and the Lead goes to get the Cross. As the Priest leaves the sanctuary, the servers follow the priest down each side. Stand facing the altar leaving enough room for the Priest, Deacon and readers. All (except those holding the candles!) bow to the altar when the Priest does. When the Priest signals, the altar servers turn and lead the procession slowly down the main aisle to the back of the church. The Servers put away the candles and return their crosses and cassocks to the sacristy.
Please note that you are responsible to replace yourself if you cannot serve.