St. Helen Catholic Church
5510 W. Cholla
Glendale, AZ 85304
Altar Servers Manual
Last Revised: February 2012
Table of Contents
Altar Server’s Prayer Before Mass………………...............…….....… 2-1
General Requirements…………………………….......................…… 3-1
The Mass……………………………………….............……...…...… 4:1
The Order of Mass……………...........….....................................5:5
Appendix A~ Prayers....................................................................6:1
Appendix B ~The Sign of the Cross.............................................6:2-3
Appendix C ~ Receiving of Holy Communion............................6:3-4
Appendix D ~ Prayer Position......................................................6:4
Appendix E ~ Liturgical Objects..................................................6:4-5
Knowing About the Sanctuary……...........…..................................….8:1-3
Important Reminders & Misc. Things to Know....................................9:1
St. Helen Parish is deeply grateful for your acceptance and commitment to be Altar
Servers. Your service and dedication are important parts of our parish life. The
place of the Altar Server in liturgical celebrations is one of prominence and
distinction and is vital in the liturgical assembly.
Your role as an Altar Server is to help bring the assembly to a fuller understanding
of the liturgy and a greater love for God. You have a place of honor at Mass,
because you assist the priest in many ways. Your behavior and accomplishment are
signs of your faith and your love for God and God’s people.
It is an extreme privilege to kneel so close to the altar as our loving Savior, Jesus
Christ, becomes truly present, body, blood, soul and divinity. In the presence of
Our King it is both wise and necessary for you to perform all assigned duties with
attention, dignity and reverence.
Also keep in mind to attend to every action of the Divine Liturgy (Mass) as a team,
all serving the Sacred Mass in the same manner and style as your companion Altar
Servers, so it is imperative that all servers do their assigned tasks in the prescribed
form and manner.
This manual is designed to give you direction for our parish Masses and to be
a guide to help you as you assist the priests at the Altar of God.
Altar Server’s Prayer Before Serving Prayer After Serving
Father in heaven your son, Jesus Christ, Lord Jesus Christ,
showed his love for you by serving you are the eternal High Priest.
his needy brothers and sisters. You lead all your saints in heaven
and your people on earth.
I now ask you to give me your help
As I serve you and your people. Thank you, Lord Jesus,
For letting me come before your altar,
Open my mouth to praise you So that, with your help,
in word and song. I can praise my Father in heaven
Open my ears to hear your Word. as his server.
Open my hands to do your work well.
Help me find joy in serving at your altar
Take from my heart all evil Help me fine gladness in knowing and
and distracting thoughts. doing your will in all things.
Help me know what I should do, Glory to you, Lord Jesus,
and do it well. and to the Father and to the Holy Spirit
as it was in the beginning, is now and
Help me to serve reverently
at your holy altar, as it was in the beginning, is now and
and so give you praise and and will be for ever. AMEN
glory, now and forever. AMEN
Who Can Serve: At St. Helen Parish we welcome and encourage our youth to
become Altar Servers.
To become an Altar Server a young man or young woman should:
Have received the sacrament of Holy Eucharist.
Attend Mass regularly and practice their faith. Servers are encouraged to participate
through their senior year of high school, and are welcome to return to assist during
Participate in annual training/re-commissioning services.
Complete the Called To Protect Training for Youth (offered annually through the Faith
Formation Program). Sign Permission to Volunteer Form.
Have the commitment and ability to perform this role with reverence.
Proper Dress: Altar Servers show respect for the Mass they attend by wearing proper attire.
Here are some guidelines to observe when serving:
Shirts/Blouses must have sleeves (no T-shirts and no bare shoulders)
Causal or dress pants (no shorts or jeans)
Skirts or dresses should be a modest length (just above the knee or longer, ladies)
Dressy Shoes if possible. If you MUST wear sneakers, they should be clean and dark in color.
High Heels are discouraged for ladies......you want shoes that you will not trip in.
Dress Sandals for ladies are okay as long as they are dressy and not very high. Gentlemen - no
No Flip Flops
No white athletic socks......dark colors to match shoes please
No large or loose fitting bracelets that might get in the way when serving the priest
Hair should be groomed and look nice.
Basically remember this: *** You should look dressed up - wearing your Sunday best***
Conduct/Demeanor: On and off of the altar, the Altar Server represents the Church to some
degree and therefore their conduct and demeanor should be respectful. Servers must realize that
their behavior and conduct set an example to others both inside and outside of the church. A
server must want to serve at the Altar of God. Their decision to serve, with parental support, is
always the main motivating factor. Altar Servers should attend each Mass they are scheduled for
and arrange for a substitute if unable to attend a scheduled Mass. This is most important during
Advent, Christmas, Lent, Holy Week and Easter. See Altar Server Roster for substitutes.
For Catholics, nothing is more important than the Mass. It is the heart and soul of
our worship of God. It is the celebration that gives us the strength we need to live a
Christian life. Because of its importance, the Church places a serious obligation on
all of its members to take part in the Mass each Sunday and Holy Day.
First and foremost, the Mass is a sacrifice. Jesus offered His Father a sacrifice:
Himself. Jesus promised us that “when we eat this bread and drink this cup” He
would continue His great sacrifice until He comes again.
The Mass is a sacred meal called the Eucharist (from Greek meaning
“thanksgiving”). In the Mass, we give thanks for all that God has done for us, and
we all eat the same food – “the bread of life and the cup of eternal salvation.”
The Mass is a memorial of the Last Supper when Jesus instituted the Eucharist and
told His followers “Do this in the memory of me.”
The way in which the Mass is celebrated has developed over two thousand years.
Despite its development, two elements have always been the same: the Liturgy of
the Word and the Liturgy of the Eucharist.
The following is the basic outline of the Order of Mass, the Sanctuary, the Books
used at Mass, and the Ministers at Mass – all of which you should learn well to get
a basic understanding of the Mass as the instructions to serving the Mass unfold.
Order of the Mass
Wait for the priest at the entrance where the Entrance Procession is
to begin. When signaled to go, the cross-bearer and the candle-
bearers will proceed into the isle and wait for the deacon and priest.
The cross-bearer should stand at the third pew from the back with
the two candle bearers, one pew behind him. If more servers are present, they should line up
behind the candle bearers. Servers should wait in these positions for the start of the entrance
hymn. At the start of the entrance hymn, the servers will lead the entrance procession to the
Altar, slowly and deliberately.
When the crosser bearer gets to the steps of the Sanctuary, he/she makes a small bow of the head and
proceeds up the steps of the Sanctuary takes the processional cross to the cross stand near the
Servers chairs and move to his/her Mass position, next to the priest's chair (near the Tabernacle).
This sever will immediately pick up the BROWN BOOK/BINDER on the small table near the
priest's chair and place it on his/her own chair (to be sure to have it ready when Father requires it).
Following the cross-bearer, the candle-bearers will enter will also make a head bow to the Altar
and then proceed to place their candles in their Mass places and then go to their Mass positions.
If the Server is not carrying anything in their hand, he/she should stop at the steps of the
Sanctuary and make a PROFOUND Bow.
During the Glory to God in the Highest (Lord have mercy during lent), the
server serving as captain (seated next to the priest near the Tabernacle) will
pick up the BROWN BOOK and have it opened to the FIRST PAGE for the
priest to say, Let us pray.
When the priest says, Let us pray, server three will proceed directly in front of the priest. Server
will have the BROWN BOOK opened to PAGE ONE. Hold the BROWN BOOK at the chest
level. If the Server is taller than the priest he/she should hold the book to his/her side. Keep the
pages flat, and do not move about while the priest is reading.
When the priest is finished, close the BROWN BOOK and set it between your chair and Father's
chair. . Sit down in your chair for the first readings.
Rite of Blessing and Sprinkling Holy Water (This rite is commonly celebrated during the Easter
Season, but may also be used at other times, when used, the Penitential Rite is omitted)
Or Penitential Act: Server should have the BROWN BOOK/BINDER ready and opened for deacon.
Gloria: (This ancient hymn of praise is used on all Sundays and Solemnities outside of Advent
Opening Prayer (also referred to as the “Collect”) 5-1
LITURGY OF THE WORD
First Reading (proclaimed by a Lector ~ usually taken from the Old
Responsorial Psalm (lead by a cantor or choir...can be sung or spoken)
Second Reading: (proclaimed by a Lector ~ usually taken from the New Testament. There is a
second reading on Sundays and Solemnities, but not most weekdays)
The Alleluia: (The Gospel Acclamation is a small verse of Scripture or hymn)
At the end of the second reading, during the Alleluia, the candle bearers should get up and
process to the procession candles on servers table and pick up their candles. They should walk to
the Altar and stand in front of the pointed legs while the deacon or priest stands in the center of
the Altar holding the Book of Gospels. When the deacon or priest turns, escort them to the
Ambo. (Where the Word of god is proclaimed).
The Gospel: (This is always proclaimed by the Bishop, a priest or a deacon)
The cross bearer stands with the rest of the community.
The candle bearers holding the candles should face the reader during the Gospel. All servers
should pay very close attention to the words of Jesus in the gospel and face the reader to
demonstrate to the people how they are paying attention.. The arm that is holding the upper part
of the candle should point toward the people.
Maintain these positions during the gospel and then return the candles to server table when the
Gospel is over, and return to your seats. Sit down and listen to the homily.
Homily (The bishop, priest, or deacon then speaks to the people, on that day’s scriptures, on the
feast or special occasion being celebrated or on any liturgical text from the Mass)
Profession of Faith (On Sundays and solemnities, the Nicene-Constantinople Creed is normally
recited by everyone after the homily. The Apostles’ Creed may be used instead, esp. in
celebrations of Masses with children.)
General Intercessions (Prayer of the Faithful) The Altar Server should have the BROWN
BOOK/BINDER opened and ready for the deacon (and sometimes the priest) for prayers of
LITURGY OF THE EUCHARIST
Presentation of the Gifts / Preparation of the Altar
All servers sit with the people during the collection. Candle-bearers, during the last collection,
when the ushers are about half of the way down the middle aisle, will stand up and proceed down
the steps of the Sanctuary, turn and make a FULL bow to the Altar, turn together and proceed to
the back of the church.
When the ushers have the family ready to bring up the gifts, the servers will turn toward the altar
and lead the gift procession to the priest. Do not wait for the priest to tell you to move. Start as
soon as you are ready. It is always better to be ready than caught off guard. The cross bearer
should stand when the priest and deacon stand and follow them to receive the gifts.
After the cross bearers reach the Sanctuary, they bow to the priest and deacon then pass around
move to positions where they can help the priest and deacon accept the gifts or carry the gift
basket to the side of the Altar.
Quickly proceed to the credence table to get the cruets (wine & water and the water bowl and
towel). Server sitting closest to the choir should carry the water and wine cruets. Server sitting
closest to the crucifix will carry the water bowl (LAVABO) and towel to the celebrant so he may
cleanse his hands
Preparation of the Gifts:
Candle bearers should hand the deacon or priest the wine or water as directed. Stand together
until the deacon or priest is finished. If it is the priest who takes the wine and water, bow
together to the priest when he is finished and returns the cruets to them (never bow to the
deacon), stepping back so the other server may step forward with the water bowl and towel..
The server carrying the water bowl (LAVABO) and towel should be ready to meet the priest
comes to you, and hold out the bowl. . (Step in close...do not make Father reach far, to do this).
No server is to sit down. They are to return to their chairs and stand. Remain standing there until
all kneel. Server number one should stay in this position until after all are kneeling. The server
sitting next to the priest's chair should be standing this entire time.
Prayer over the Gifts
Sanctus (Holy, Holy, Holy)
The Eucharistic Prayer: (There are four regular Eucharistic Prayers, two other Eucharistic
Prayers for Masses of Reconciliation, three Eucharistic Prayers for Masses with Children, and or
four recently approved Eucharistic Prayers for Various Needs and Occasions. Each prayer has a
All servers return to their normal positions and kneel on the Altar Step. 5-3
SOME PARISHES USE ALTAR BELLS EACH SUNDAY; At St. Helen we do not.
HOWEVER, we do use them on Christmas, Easter Vigil, Easter Sunday and times when the
Bishop celebrates Mass at our parish. Here is what you need to know about Altar Bells:
The Altar Bells
The bells will be rung at three separate times during the Consecration: (to be rung by server
sitting closest to Choir)
The server should ring the bell when Father ELEVATES the Host. These should
be three distinct rings (and continuous) during the elevation of the Body of Jesus
Christ our God. Do not ring bell while priest is speaking.
Although not rung every Sunday in our parish, St. Helen typically rings the Altar
Bells on Easter, Confirmation, when the Bishop visits and other special occasions.
Severs will be asked to come to a specific rehearsal for these occasions.
Because these are solemn times, (the bread and wine we offered just before, has now become the
real BODY and BLOOD of Our God, Jesus Christ) ring the bells reverently.
At the two elevations, the bells are to be shaken three distinct times in honor for the Holy
Trinity: Once for the Father, Once for the Son, and Once for the Holy Spirit.
The Lord’s Prayer (Our Father)
Sign of Peace
Altar Servers may leave the Sanctuary and offer their families
a sign of peace. Then return to their Mass positions.
Prayer after Communion 5-4
Greeting & Closing Prayers
The Closing Prayers:
All servers are to sit until the priest says: "Let us pray" then server next to the priest will proceed
directly in front of the priest and give the priest the BROWN BOOK - opened to page 3. Hold
the BROWN BOOK at the height that the priest directs you. Keep the pages flat, and do not
move about while the priest is reading. When the priest is finished, close the BROWN BOOK
and return it to your chair.
Note: Sometimes the priest will say the final prayer from the Altar and the book will not be
All servers should then be standing in front of their chairs and follow along with the people.
Blessing & Dismissal
Recessional and Closing Song
The Exit Procession:
When the deacon (or priest) says, “The Mass is ended…” the candle bearers should pick up the
candles and wait for the cross bearer to pick up the processional cross and lead the servers down
the steps of the Sanctuary to about the 4th pew, turn and face the Altar (waiting for the priest and
The priest and deacon will walk around to the center of the altar, descend the steps of the
Sanctuary and genuflect or bow to the Altar. When the priest and deacon genuflect, all servers
make a head bow to altar (if the server is not carrying anything in his/her hands, he/she makes a
full and reverent bow. All servers then turn and proceed quickly down the center aisle.
Extinguish candles in rear of the church and get back to the vesting sacristy as quickly as
possible....leaving them on side table in the vestibule.
*Once in the Vestment Sacristy, neatly hang up your cassock on the hanger you found it on. *
Appendix A Prayers
Every Altar Server must be able to recite the prayers of the Mass from memory before he or
she is allowed to start Altar Server Training.
These prayers are to be memorized as printed here:
Priest: In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.
The Penitential Rite:
I confess to Almighty God, and to you, my brothers and sisters, that I have greatly sinned, in my
thoughts and in my words, in what I have done, and in what I have failed to do; through my
fault, through my fault, through my most grievous fault; and I ask Mary, ever virgin, all the
angles and saints, and you my brothers and sisters, to pray for me to the Lord our God.
The Glory to God:
Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to people of good will.
We praise you, we bless you, we adore you, we glorify you,
we give You thanks for your great glory. Lord God heavenly King, O God, almighty Father.
Lord Jesus Christ, Only Begotten Son, Lord God, Lamb of God, Song of the Father,
you take away the sins of the world: have mercy on us;
you take away the sins of the world, receive our prayer;
you are seated at the right hand of the Father, have mercy on us.
For You alone are the Holy One, You alone are the Lord, You alone are the Most High, Jesus
Christ, with the Holy Spirit, in the glory of God the Father, Amen.
The Profession of Faith:(Nicene Creed)
I believe in one God, the Father Almighty,
maker of heaven and earth, of all things visible and invisible.
I believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ, the Only Begotten son of God,
born of the Father before all ages.
God from God, Light from Light
true God from true God ,
begotten, not made,
consubstantial with the Father;
through Him all things were made.
For us men and our salvation He came down from heaven:
server(s) bow here as you say:
by the Power of the Holy Spirit He was born of the Virgin Mary, and became man.
For our sake He was crucified under Pontius Pilate;
He suffered death, and was buried, and rose again on the third day
in accordance with the scriptures.
He ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of
He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead,
and His kingdom will have no end.
I believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord and giver of life,
who proceeds from the Father and the Son.
who with the Father and the Son He is adored and glorified;
who has spoken through the prophets.
I believe in one holy catholic and apostolic church.
I confess one baptism for the forgiveness of sins and
I look forward to the resurrection of the dead, and the life of the world to come. Amen
The Holy Holy Holy:
Server: Holy, Holy, Holy Lord, God of hosts. Heaven and earth are full of your glory. Hosanna
in the highest. Blessed is He who comes in the Name of the Lord. Hosanna in the highest.
The Memorial Acclimation:
Server: Christ has died.
Christ is risen,
Christ will come again.
The Lord's Prayer:
Our Father, Who art in heaven, hallowed be Thy Name; Thy kingdom come; Thy will be done
on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread; and forgive us our trespasses as we
forgive those who trespass against us; and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.
The Lamb of God:
Lamb of God, you take away the sins of the world: have mercy on us.
Lamb of God, you take away the sins of the world: have mercy on us.
Lamb of God, you take away the sins of the world: grant us peace.
The Communion Prayer:
Priest: This is the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world. Happy are those who are
called to His Supper.
Server: Lord, I am not worthy that you should enter under my roof,
but only say the word and my soul shall be healed.
The Altar Server Prayer:
Oh Lord, My God, I humbly come to serve at your Altar by assisting your priest in offering the
Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. Please give me the grace to perform my duties with reverence,
attention, and devotion for you are worthy of all my love. I ask this through Jesus Christ our
The Sign of the Cross
The sign of the cross is an external acknowledgment of our Triune God (Father, Son, and Holy
Spirit) and our salvation through the Cross of Jesus.
Each Altar Server should make the sign of the cross in a uniform military fashion when in the
Sanctuary. This is to promote a simple statement of order flowing from the Peace of Jesus, and
the Unity of the Holy Trinity present in the Sanctuary.
The Sign of the Cross is done in the following manner:
Start with the hands held in the prayer position shown on the previous page and
say, " In the name of " . . . With the right hand touch the center of the forehead
with the tip of your right index finger and say, . . . " The Father and of ". . .
Move the right hand to the center of your chest and touch it as you say, . . ." The
Son, and of " . . .
Move the right hand and touch your left shoulder as you say, . . . " The Holy " . . .
Move the right hand and touch your right shoulder as you say, . . . " Spirit " . . .
Return to the prayer hand position and say, . . . " AMEN. "
Receiving of Holy Communion
The presence of Jesus in the Eucharist is a real and true presence. The whole substance of the
bread and wine is transformed into the real substance of Jesus' resurrected Body and Blood.
While the appearance of the bread and wine remain, it is no longer bread and wine. It is, after the
words of Consecration, the whole Jesus Christ, truly, really, and substantially contained. The
whole substance of the bread is changes into the substance of the body of Jesus Christ and the
whole substance of the wine is changed into the substance of his blood. This change is called
All Catholics may receive Holy Communion either standing or kneeling. If received kneeling,
there is no further requirement for an outward sign of reverence; if receiving while standing, an
appropriate acknowledgment of the Real Presence of Jesus Christ (e.g. Liturgical norms call for
an act of adoration before reception of the Body and Blood of Our God, Jesus Christ. This is, in
most parishes, either a genuflection (or a profound bow) should be given.
As the priest begins to consume Holy Communion to himself and the deacon, join the
Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion (EMHC) standing behind the priest so you can be
ready to receive too.
Please remember to receive reverently. All Altar Servers will receive Holy Communion in the
hand, or on the tongue. Prior to receiving Holy Communion, the server is to bow from the waist
to Jesus in the consecrated bread and wine as the priest, deacon, or extraordinary minister says:
"The Body of Christ" or "The Blood of Christ."
Altar Servers are permitted to receive both the Body and Blood (it is always preferred to receive
under both species) of Our Lord, Jesus Christ. Altar servers are encouraged to receive every
Sunday and receive the Sacrament of Penance once a month.
Every Altar Server must be able to maintain the prayer position the entire time the server is
standing or kneeling. When standing or kneeling, the posture must be straight. Leaning or
slouching will not be tolerated. The hands must be held together at the chest with the fingers
pointing up and out with palms pressed together. It is very disrespectful to stand or kneel while
holding your hands in other positions like you were waiting at a bus stop or somewhere else but
at Mass. The focus of Mass is always either at the Altar or the Ambo, wherever the
celebrant/deacon is speaking.
When sitting the server is free to hold hands in any comfortable position. Sitting should also be
straight with feet on the floor. Slouching or slumping will not be tolerated. Always move and
walk with purpose and reverence. Work as a team when with another Server.
Whenever the server is in the Sanctuary, there is to be no talking for any reason except the
communication of matters pertaining to the proper order of the Mass such as prayers, responses
to the priest or deacon, instructions to fellow servers, or directions to other servers when
Chalice: The Chalice recalls the same type of cup used by Jesus at the Last Supper to hold the
wine He consecrated into His Blood. It is usually made of a precious substance such as gold or
silver. If the chalice is silver the insides of the cup must be gold plated. The chalice is anointed
with holy chrism by the Bishop prior to use at the Mass.
Purificator: The Purificator is used for cleansing and drying the Chalice and the fingers and
mouth of the priest after his communion. It is usually made of linen cloth and has a red cross
embroidered into the material. These should be rinsed in clean water before washing and the
rinse water poured in the proper place reserved for such rinse water. Ask the priest.
Paten: The paten is a small round plate, made of the same material as the Chalice. It is used to
hold the bread to be consecrated into the Body of Jesus.
Pall: The Pall is a square piece of linen, reinforced with plastic or similar material. It is used to
cover the Chalice and prevent anything from falling into it.
Corporal: The corporal is a piece of linen, usually about fifteen inches square, placed on the
Altar to hold the Chalice and Hosts. It is called a Corporal because of the Latin word, corpus
(body), because the Body of Jesus rests on it. Because these may come in contact with the Body
or Blood of Jesus, these should be rinsed in clean water before washing and the rinse water
poured in the proper place reserved for such rinse water. Ask the priest.
Burse: The Burse is a square bag, like a square purse or pocketbook. It is designed to hold the
Corporal when it is carried to and from the Altar and is usually the same color as the vestments.
We do not use this at St. Helen
Chalice Veil: The Chalice Veil is a colored cloth which covers the Chalice until the Offertory
and again after Communion. We do not use this at St. Helen
Alb: The alb is a flowing white linen robe covering the entire body. Alb is the Latin word for
white and is used to as a symbol of our sinfulness being changed into the light of Jesus. The
priest, deacon wears this under their other vestments.
Water Cruet Water Bowel (Lavabo)
Cincture: The Cincture is a cord used to secure the Alb around the waist. It symbolizes
the cord that bound Jesus to the pillar while He was scourged and is useful in
reminding us to be strong spiritually in the battle against evil. St. Helen Altar Server no
longer wears the Alb & Cinctures.
These are various Vestments the Priest or Deacon will wear during Liturgical
Celebrations. They can be found in the Vestment Closet in the Vestment Sacristy.
Altar Servers at St. Helen currently wear the flowing Vestments for Mass:
Cassock & Surplus: A cassock is a coat that covers the surplice. The word "cassock" comes
from Middle French "casaque", meaning a long coat. We use a black cassock for most
occasions and a red cassock for special celebrations and seasons (Christmas and Easter). A
surplice (Late Latin: superpelliceum, from super, "over" ). The surplice is in the form of a tunic
of white linen or cotton fabric, reaching to the knees or to the ankles, with wide or moderately
This sign is in the
These Cassocks and
Surplices are hanging
in the Vestment
Knowing About The Sanctuary
The priest offers Mass in a sacred place, a Sanctuary, set apart from the rest of the
church for sacrifice. In our Sanctuary you will find three steps leading to the Altar. On
either side of the Altar are three candles. One candle is lighted for daily Mass, two
candles are lighted by the Altar Server for Sunday Mass and all three candles are lighted
for Solemn high Masses (Easter, Christmas, etc.). A seventh candle is lighted when the
Bishop celebrates Mass (called the Bishop's Candle....in the Sacristy...room behind the
The other candle you will see on the Sanctuary is the Easter Candle, to be lighted at
Easter Vigil & Easter Mass, Baptisms and Funeral Masses. This candle is near the infant
Baptismal Font, just to the left of the Servers Chairs.
Celebrants chairs (for priest,
deacon and cross bearer-altar
server) Notice the Tabernacle to the
right of the altar server's chair.....that
candle above signifies that Christ is
present in the Taberancle.
More About The Sanctuary
Partial view of:_________
Ambry - Holy Oils (small wooden box
on wall right of Servers Chairs)
Ambo (Where the Word of God is
The Roman Missal: is the liturgical book that contains the texts and prayers for the
celebration of the Mass in the Roman Rite of the Catholic Church. (the Big Red book on the
(lectern or podium)
The stand where the Priest, Deacon
or Lector Proclaim the Word of God
*Notice the Lectionary open & ready
Credence Table and Processional Cross Stand Holder
(against the Crucifix wall) The Servers place their candles
on the table, near the cross.
The Sacristy behind the Sanctuary:
Notice the counter where all the various Mass books
are kept. The special sink where the Vessels that
contain the Precious Body & Blood of Jesus are
purified (cleaned by the priest or deacon) 8-2
Purificators, Corporals and
priest towels are located in the
top drawer under the main
counter in Sacristy behind the
Sanctuary. Sometimes the deacon will ask the Server to get
additional purificators for the Altar.
This is called the Thurible, it is the metal container specifically made
for burning incense. It is suspended from chains, so the incense can be
burned during special Masses (to incense or bless the Book of Gospels
before it is proclaimed at special Mass celebrations such as funerals,
benediction and exposition of the Eucharist, Easter and other special
A server for the Thurible is called a "thurifer", who is sometimes assisted
by an additional server called a "boat bearer" that carries the receptacle or
Boat, for the incense, approaches the person conducting the service to
assist with the incense. Both the Thurible and Boat are located in the back
Sacristy behind the Sanctuary.
The Candles for the Candle Bearer Servers are located in
the Vestment Sacristy - where your cassock and Surplice
After you are vested/dresses, take the Server Candles out to
the table in the Vestibule near the Processional Cross
Stand. Greet other ministers for the Mass and get ready to
lead the procession in for Mass.
Important Reminders & Misc. Things To Know
VERY IMPORTANT: Arrive at church at least 15 minutes before Mass and sign in on the
forms in the Vestment Sacristy. Put on your cassock & surplice after signing in.
Before each Mass, agree who will be the “Cross Bearer” Server and “Candle Bearer" Servers
Usually, the “Cross Bearer” Server is most experienced.
When there are only two Altar Servers: there will be no candles in the opening and closing
procession (Cross only). No candles are used at the Gospel reading. The “Cross Bearer” will
perform all their duties while sitting next to the priest but will join the other server at the Altar
when the deacon or priest rises to Proclaim the Gospel.
Afterwards, he/she will be seated in the open Candle Bearer's seat and continue all the duties the
Candle Bearer performs throughout Mass.
At the end of Mass, this server will then resume their Cross Bearer duties and pick up the
Processional Cross and lead the processional recess done the steps of the Sanctuary.
THE FOLLOWING THINGS HAVE TO BE DONE BEFORE MASS:
Ten minutes before Mass, the two Candle servers will light the appropriate altar candles.
Five minutes before Mass, all three servers go to the altar and return to the back of the
church with the two candles and the cross for the entrance procession.
Knowing When To Serve
Every three months a Liturgical Schedule (the Quarterly Schedule) is prepared and all ministers
are assigned to serve at Mass. Check this schedule and mark on the calendar the days you are
assigned to serve.
You may pick up the schedule each quarter in the vestibule when announced. You may also find
the schedule posted in the hallway of the Church near the Vestment Sacristy and on our blog at
The Ministry Coordinator (Sharon Matson) will email a quarterly copy of the Server Roster to
each server's parents. Please use this roster to contact anther server to substitute for you, if
you are unable to serve at the Mass you are schedule for.
Contact Sharon Matson, Altar Server Coordinator with any questions or concerns at:
623-979-4202, etc. 245 or at firstname.lastname@example.org
St. Helen Catholic Church
5510 W. Cholla
Glendale, AZ 85304
Altar Server Coordinator
Director, Youth & Young Adult Ministries
623-979-4202, ext. 245