HOLY TRINITY SERVERS HANDBOOK
Being a server is not something to be taken lightly. It is a ministry, a service to God in
the House of the Lord.
Altar Servers play a very important part in the celebration of the Mass. Not only do you
assist the Celebrant at the Altar - you also are an example for the entire congregation.
The role of Server at Holy Trinity is open to children, youth and adults who feel the call
to serve God in this unique and wonderful way.
Servers are grouped into four ranks:
Five servers assist the celebrant at the altar.
Perhaps the best way of looking at their duties is to look at the order in which they
enter the church.
1. First is the Thurifer. He/she is a senior server who will carry the Thurible. This
is used ceremonially at the Gospel and the Offertory. The thurible will be
required during the service and it is the job of the Thurifer to have it ready as
required - Care must always be taken as a smouldering charcoal fire is used in
the thurible that reaches extremely high temperatures.
2. The Boatboy/ Boat Bearer usually accompanies the Thurifer. The boat contains
the incense that is used in the thurible. It is the boat bearers' job to make sure
that the boat is available when required by the Thurifer.
3. Next is a server who carries the processional cross, who is generally known as
the Crucifer or Cross-bearer. – He/she carries the processional cross at the
beginning and end of the service. The server carrying the processional cross
follows the Thurifer to the altar, or leads the procession when there is no
Thurifer. The cross bearer bows to the altar and sets the processional cross in its
place. At the end of the Mass the cross bearer collects the cross and leads the
procession out of the church.
4. Followed by the Acolytes who serve in pairs. They walk side by side and carry
lighted candles at the beginning and end of the Mass as well as at the Gospel
reading. The function of these candles was originally to give light to the book at
the Gospel, and they have been retained in use for the rest of the service.
Acolytes also help with the offering, carrying the offering plates to the altar and
they also accept bread, wine and water from the ushers.
*MC - Master of ceremonies. This is one of the most experienced servers who is able
to take charge of the whole ceremony. This server will also deal with problems as they
arise in the Mass. If done well then no one will know that any problems have occurred. *
Author: Diane Stokes November 2009
THE SERVERS PRESENCE DURING THE SERVICE
Servers should take part in all services as fully as possible, by paying careful attention
to everything that is being said or done and by joining in the prayers, responses and
hymns -and especially by receiving Holy Communion at Mass.
RELAX AND SMILE, your role as a SERVER is a very important
part of the worship
WALK AND MOVE SLOWLY when performing your duties HEAD
PAY ATTENTION to what is happening
WHEN STANDING, stand up straight and keep your hands folded
WHEN SITTING, rest your arms on your legs or fold them in your
lap. Don't cross your legs or swing them - keep your feet on the
SIT QUIETLY during the service and following the Gospel reading
the Servers should sit down together and listen to the Sermon.
You need to always perform your tasks with dignity and reverence.
Remember to genuflect when entering or leaving the Sanctuary or
crossing in front of the Tabernacle.
GOSPEL PROCESSION, AND RECESSIONAL
Please arrive each Sunday by 10.15. It is important to have the full team assembled 10
minutes in advance of the service.
When you arrive at the church, stop and think about what a special building you are
entering. Your church is a place where God lives with his people in your parish, and a
place where God's people come together to praise God
Make sure that you serve when you are scheduled or arrange a substitute if you can't
It is important to keep a flexible attitude about changes, show responsibility about your
schedule and commitment, and serve with attention and care.
We expect you to help each other out. If you see that someone has forgotten something
it's often easier to do it yourself that to try to get the other
If YOU make a mistake remember it's normally no big deal. If
you recover smoothly chances are no one will even notice.
Don't be afraid to offer suggestions to each other.
Each time you serve you should be a little better than before.
We also look to you to help train new acolytes and make them
feel welcome and happy in our program. If you have a friend who would be a good
acolyte, please encourage her or him to join us!
Most important, we hope you will enjoy serving as an acolyte as a spiritual experience.
You are acting out your love of Christ by leading His people and serving Him right at
Author: Diane Stokes November 2009
It is important to realise that it is a great privilege to serve the liturgy of the Church and
this should be reflected in how we dress and behave. Thus it is important that you wear
appropriate clothes and footwear for serving at the liturgy. Dress smartly. Black polished
shoes are preferable along with dark coloured trousers.
Frayed blue jeans and trainers shoes clash with the otherwise dignified vestments worn
by the Celebrant and Servers.
Respect the vestments you wear; keep them clean and in good condition. Hang them up
properly when you have finished serving. Most importantly you should remember that
looking after your vestments and the way you dress are your responsibility. Your cassock
should reach to the tops of your shoes and the sleeves should reach almost to the palms of
your hands. It's better to wear a cassock that's a little too big than one that's too small.
Altar - The structure on which the Eucharist takes place.
Cassock - Full-length gown with sleeves worn by servers and priests.
Chalice - The cup that contains the precious Blood of Christ.
Ciborium - A container that holds the body of Christ.
Credence table - The little wooden side table on which all the things that are necessary
for the Mass are placed. The acolytes sit either side of this table
Cruet – a small jug that contains water or wine for the Mass.
Incense - A substance that gives off clouds of sweet smelling smoke when sprinkled onto
Incense Boat - So called because it is usually shaped like a boat, it contains the incense,
which will be burned in the thurible.
Lavabo Bowl and Towel - At the preparation of the gifts the priest washes his hands to
signify the cleansing of the sins of those gathered and to prepare himself for what he is
about to do.
Lectern - The desk from which the readers, deacon and priest proclaim the readings.
Lectionary - A book containing all the scripture readings for Mass. It is placed on the
lectern before Mass begins, or it may be carried in the entrance procession.
Processional Cross - This is carried into church at the head of a procession, as a sign of
our faith, and is the basic symbol of Christianity. It reminds us that Jesus died for us.
Sacristy - The room where the clergy and servers prepare themselves for the service.
Sign of the Cross
IN the name of the Father,
and of the Son,
and of the Holy Spirit.
HAIL Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou amongst women and
blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners,
now, and in the hour of our death.
Author: Diane Stokes November 2009