Altar Servers

Celebrating 100 years of St ElizabethsAs an Altar Server you are a very important member of the parish. When you become an Altar Server you commit yourself to help the priest as he serves God and the people through Mass. Altar Serving is a privilege. It shows your commitment to God. There is no age limit to being called to serve at the altar. As long as you are eligible to receive Holy Communion you can be an Altar Server.

It does not stop you participating in other activities in the church. For example you can be on the rota for cleaning, reading and, if old enough, Eucharistic Minister.

Altar Servers work as a team and as with all teams different members have different abilities and experiences. We need new people to join our team of Altar Servers and we need experienced Altar Servers to stay with the team to help train (by example and explanation) the new Servers.

We especially need experienced Altar Servers at Christmas, Holy Week, First Holy Communion and Confirmation Masses as well as at weekly Masses and meetings.

Each year our Altar Servers renew their committment during a specail Mass.  This year they were recommissioned during the mass for the Epiphany of the Lord

Alter Servers Prayers

Prayer before Serving Prayer after Serving
Father in heaven,
your Son, Jesus Christ,
showed his love for you
by serving his needy brothers and sisters.
I now ask you to give me your help
as I serve you and your people.
Open my mouth to praise you in word and song.
Open my ears to hear your Word.
Open my hands to do your work well.
Take from my heart all evil
and distracting thoughts.
Help me to know what I should do and to do it well.
Help me to serve reverently at your holy altar,
and so give you praise and glory,
now and for ever.
Lord Jesus Christ,
you are the eternal High Priest.
You lead all your saints to heaven
and your people on earth
in praising God, our Father.
Thank you, Lord Jesus,
for letting me come before your altar,
so that, with your help,
I can praise my Father in heaven as his server.
Help me find joy in serving at your altar.
Help me find gladness
in knowing and doing your will in all things.
Glory to you, Lord Jesus,
And to the Father and to the Holy Spirit,
as it was in the beginning, is now
and will be for ever.

Hints to Servers

People who serve


This is the server who does most to help the priest.

Acolytes usually serve in pairs and at solemn Mass they carry candles at the beginning and the end of the Mass, as well as at the gospel.

When carrying candles, the outside hand holds the candlestick and the inside hand is placed under the base. When you accompany the processional cross you do not bow or genuflect.


The server who carries the processional cross at the beginning and end

of the service and at other processions.

Because the cross is so important you do not bow or genuflect when carrying it. Make sure that the figure on the cross faces the front. Hold it high enough so that you do not catch the base of the ankles as this can be painful.


Server who carries the thurible.

Sometimes accompanied by a boat bearer, who carries an incense boat.

Before incense in put in hold the thurible with your left hand, under the plate at the top of the chains. The right hand is then free to slide open the cover of the thurible and then to lift the lower part so that the priest may easily put in the incense. When you are swinging the thurible it is best to hold it with your right hand.


Often a server is required to hold a book while the priest reads from it.

You do so by placing your hands under the bottom of the opened book, with its open pages facing away from you, and your thumbs supporting the back of the book so that it is upright.


Torches are always held in the outside hand with the other hand on

your chest. While in procession, the bottom of the candlestick should be just clear of the floor. When you are kneeling or standing the bottom of the candlestick rests on the floor.


Master of Ceremonies

The server who guides and helps other servers to do their job well.

Serving means teamwork – working with the priest and the other servers.

Be aware of what the priest is doing.

Be aware of your fellow servers.

Know the responses.

Take an active part in the mass.

Move quietly.

Act calmly.

Do not call attention to yourself.

Which means: serve reverently.