Mission: The mission of the St. Mary’s Altar Servers is to minister at God’s altar with reverence, fidelity, and love. Altar Servers prepare the credence table and sanctuary for Mass, and assist during the celebration of Mass. They also serve at Weddings, First Communion, Confirmation, and other special celebrations in the life of the Church. These include Holy Days, Holy Week, Christmas, and Easter. The presence of these young people at the altar is an important witness, reminding us that Catholics of every age have gifts to offer and a role in ministry.
Eligibility: Any St. Mary’s youth currently in the 4th Grade through 12th Grade may enter training to become an Altar Server.
Training: The training of new Altar Servers takes place each fall, usually starting in October. Training consists of four 1.5 hour sessions.
Session One: How to prepare the church for Mass.
Session Two: How to serve Mass through the Liturgy of the Word.
Session Three: How to serve Mass through the Liturgy of the Eucharist.
Session Four: Review and Practicum.
The training sessions are followed by a special Saturday night rehearsal. Then the candidates are formally installed as Altar Servers at a Sunday Mass the next day. During this ceremony the servers promise to faithfully execute the duties entrusted to them, receive the Church’s “Blessing of New Altar Servers,” and are vested in albs by a parent.
Scheduling: Altar Servers are usually scheduled to serve Mass twice in a five week period. Servers may contact Mrs. Martell (see below) in advance to request any dates off that they know they will be unavailable. If a schedule conflict arises once the server schedule is already finished, however, it is the server’s responsibility to call other servers and arrange coverage. Servers are expected to be generous in helping each other out in this way. Three Altar Servers are scheduled for each Mass.
Altar Server Trips: Every summer St. Mary’s treats all of her Altar Servers to a day long trip to Six Flags New England. This outing is a thank you to our servers for their generous ministry, and a way for them to grow in friendship as a group. It is also just lots of fun!
The Altar Server Prayer:
Loving Father, Creator of the universe,
You call Your people to worship,
to be with You and one another at Mass.
I thank You for having called me
to assist others in their prayer to You.
May I be worthy of the trust placed in me,
and through my example and service
bring others closer to You in love.
I ask this in the name of Jesus Christ,
Who is Lord forever and ever.
An Altar Server Poem:
To be Christ’s page at the altar,
To serve Him freely there,
Where even angels falter,
Bowed low in reverent prayer.
To touch the throne most holy,
To hand gifts for the feast.
To see Him meekly, lowly,
Descend at the word of the priest.
To hear man’s poor petition,
To sound the silvery bell,
When he in sweet submission,
Comes down with us to dwell.
No grander mission surely
Could saints or men enjoy:
No heart should love more purely,
Than yours who serve with joy.
God bless you child forever,
And keep you in his care.
And guard you that you never
Belie the robes you wear.
For white bespeaks untainted
A heart both tried and true:
And red tells love the sainted
And holy martyrs knew.
Throughout your life endeavor, then,
God’s graces to do right;
And be in heart forever
God’s witness and God’s knight!
The Patron Saint of Altar Servers:
The patron saint of Altar Servers is St. Tarcisius, martyred around the year 255 AD. While taking communion to Christian prisoners at the age of twelve, Tarcisius was attacked by a pagan mob, and died defending the Host. It is said that when the pagans searched him afterwards, there was no trace of the Sacrament. Tarcisius is the patron of First Communicants, Altar Servers, and a Confraternity of the Blessed Sacrament. Tarcisius had a loving and heroic devotion to our Lord in the Holy Eucharist. May all our Altar Servers strive to do the same. St. Tarcisius … Pray for us.