Altar Servers Guidelines

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1 Sacred Heart Catholic Church Altar Servers Guidelines

2 INTRODUCTORY RITE: PROCESSIONAL 2

3 3 Contents ROLES OF AN ALTAR SERVER... 4 GETTING READY... 4 PROCESSIONAL... 5 GLORIA... 8 LITURGY OF THE WORD... 9 GOSPEL PROCESSION... 9 HOMILY PROFESSION OF FAITH (Creed) GENERAL INTERCESSIONS OFFERTORY/ PRESENTATION OF THE GIFTS PREPARATION OF THE GIFTS CONSECRATION SIGN OF PEACE COMMUNION PROCESSIONAL CLOSING PRAYER RECESSIONAL AFTER THE MASS DEFINITION OF TERMS..19 3

4 ROLES OF AN ALTAR SERVER PROCESSIONAL Servers carry the cross, the processional candles, hold the book for the priest celebrant when he is not at the altar, carry the incense and censer, present the bread, wine, and water to the priest during the preparation of the gifts or assist him when he receives the gifts from the people, wash the hands of the priest, assist the priest celebrant and deacon as necessary. - USCCB GETTING READY Promptness - ALWAYS ARRIVE ON TIME 20 minutes before Mass starts for Ordinary Time 30 minutes or as instructed by the Altar Servers Coordinator for solemnities, Feasts, or special Celebrations. Purity - SOUL AND BODY Your soul: Are you in the state of grace? Have you recently been to confession? Can you receive communion? Your body: Go to the church restroom and wash your hands with soap and water. Clothes and shoes should be clean and neat, as they will be visible below the hemline of the Altar Server s vestments. Hair should be groomed. Minimal and discrete jewelry. Pray the Altar Server s Prayer Before Serving, posted in your vesting room, together. Check in with the Sacristan for any special instructions upon arrival at the church and to assist in preparing for the Mass or special celebration. Sign in under the Mass you are to serve. If you are substituting for another server, add the word SUB after your name. Put on the appropriate Altar Server s vestments. Light the altar candles - Once vested, check that the Altar candles have been lit and, if appropriate, light them 15 minutes before Mass. 4

5 PROCESSIONAL Get the processional candles and Processional Cross at 10 minutes prior to the beginning of the service. They are located in the Sacristy. Gather in the narthex at 5 minutes prior to the beginning of the service to join the Presider and other religious and lay ministers for prayer. At the Sacristan s or Presider s directions move to the back of the center aisle to begin. PROCESSIONAL The Processional is the entrance into the Church and includes the Altar Servers, Lector(s), Deacon(s), and Presider. The Deacon(s) are not always present for the Mass celebrations and on special occasions there may be other participants included in the procession. The Altar Servers lead the way for all processions. (See diagram 1 Entrance Processional) Positions of servers at the front of the Processional are: 1. Cross bearer (crucifer) holding Cross up above the heads of the congregation 2. The two Candle bearers holding the candles straight 3. Additional Altar Servers stand with your hands folded. 1 Entrance Processional Once the singing begins, start walking toward the altar at a pace that follows the ministers. 5

6 PROCESSIONAL Entrance Procession/ before the altar The cross bearer pauses in front of the altar, then moves to the front of the pulpit. The other servers, with or without candles, pause in front of the altar, and then move to the front of the pulpit to stand beside the cross bearer. They reverence the altar and tabernacle with a profound bow while the other ministers genuflect. (see diagram 1-a) Server no. 3 Candle bearer Server no. 2 Candle bearer Server no. 1 Crucifer Diagram 1.a Entrance Procession (at the front of the altar) 6

7 LITURGY OF THE WORD Once the Cross and, if appropriate, the candles have been stored at the work sacristy (behind the sanctuary), proceed to the chairs designated for the altar servers with hands folded, walking in a single line with the cross bearer being last on the line to assure that all servers are in the appropriate seat assignments. (See Diagram 1-b) Server no. 3 Candle bearer Server no. 2 Candle bearer Server no. 1 Crucifer Diagram 1.b - Remain standing at your chair as the celebration begins. INCENSATION When incense is used, two of the servers go to the work sacristy to get the boat and the thurible and bring them to the priest. Incense may be used as an option in any form of Mass: a) during the Entrance Procession and at the beginning of Mass, to incense the cross and the altar b) at the procession before the Gospel and the proclamation of the Gospel itself; 7

8 LITURGY OF THE WORD c) after the bread and the chalice have been placed on the altar, to incense the offerings, the cross and the altar, as well as the Priest and the people; d) at the elevation of the host and the chalice after the Consecration. GLORIA Server No. 1 (Crucifer) Prepare to bring the Roman Missal to the Presider for the Opening Prayer. Pick up the Roman Missal. When the Gloria is sung, pick up the book from the credence table at the beginning of the last verse, i.e., For you alone are the Holy One, You alone are the Lord. Bring the Roman Missal to the Presider At the end of the Gloria when you hear the Amen, begin to walk to the Presider. If you miss your first cue, you should take up the book when the Presider says let us pray. You will be instructed in how to stand and hold the Roman Missal during training. Replace the Roman Missal After the Opening Prayer, the Presider gently closes the Roman Missal which is your cue to place the Roman Missal back on the credence table and return to your seat. 8

9 LITURGY OF THE WORD LITURGY OF THE WORD Sit straight with your palms flat against your legs and the edge of your fingers close to your knees during the First and Second Readings of the Word. Listen to the word of God at all times. GOSPEL PROCESSION The Gospel Procession is the Procession of the Presider or Deacon with the Book of Gospels accompanied by the candle bearers to the ambo. Get the processional candles. Following the Second Reading and at the beginning of the Alleluia when the Presider rises, the Candle bearers (servers no.2 and no. 3) take the processional candles. If incense is used, another server puts incense in the thurible if necessary, and joins the other servers for the procession. Move to position in front of the altar. Move to the front of the altar with server no. 2 in front of server no. 3. If incense is used, the thurifer stays in front of server no. 2. Process to the ambo Accompany the priest or the deacon to the ambo with server No.2 leading the procession, and server No.3 following the priest or deacon. If incense is used, the thurifer walks in front of server no. 2 to lead the procession.. (See Diagram 2) 9

10 LITURGY OF THE WORD 2 Gospel Procession After the Procession, the servers are to return the candles (and the thurible) and go to their seats. HOMILY The Homily is a brief discussion about the readings, given by either the Presider or Deacon. The Altar Servers should be seated (as described above) during the Homily. 10

11 LITURGY OF THE EUCHARIST: Offertory/ Presentation of the Gifts PROFESSION OF FAITH (Creed) The Profession of Faith is recited by the entire celebrating community. The Altar Servers should be standing with hands folded for the Creed and at the words by the Holy Spirit should bow from the waist (Profound Bow). NOTE: Do not ring the bells during the Creed. GENERAL INTERCESSIONS General Intercessions are the community prayers. The Altar Servers should be standing with their hands folded. Following the General Intercessions, be seated until the Offertory begins. OFFERTORY/ PRESENTATION OF THE GIFTS After the General Intercessions, as the Ministers of Hospitality approach the front of the Church to begin the collection, the Offertory begins. Set the altar. Once the Ministers of Hospitality have dropped off their collection baskets, the Altar Servers set the altar as follows: 1. Server No. 1 takes the Roman Missal from the credence table and places it on the altar. 2. Server No.2 takes the Main Chalice with purificators from the credence table and places them on the altar. The Main Chalice is placed on the center of the middle corporal. 3. Server No. 3 takes the tray with the other chalices (5) from the credence table and sets the chalices on the corporal on the right side of the altar. Get the cross and candles (parish tradition) 11

12 LITURGY OF THE EUCHARIST: Offertory/ Presentation of the Gifts After setting the altar, get the cross and candles from the work sacristy and go down the center aisle to the vestibule to lead in the presentation of the gifts of bread and wine as at the Entrance Processional. (See procedure for Entrance Procession on page 6.) Assist in receiving the gifts. Masses with four servers When the priest rises to receive the bread and wine, server no. 4 moves to the front of the altar with him. You should be in place before the priest/deacon arrives at the foot of the Altar. Take the gifts as handed to you by the priest/deacon. Masses with three servers When those with the candles reach the foot of the altar, Server No. 3 gives his/her candle to the other server and stays at the right side of the priest/deacon to assist in receiving the gifts. Take the gifts as handed to you by the priest/deacon. PREPARATION OF THE GIFTS Server No. 2 brings the water from the credence table (in the clear cruet) to the Priest/Deacon. If incense is used, server no. 3 presents the thurible to the priest. Assist the priest in the washing of his hands Once the bread and wine have been prepared, the presider is then ready to wash his hands. 1. Server No. 1 should prepare to bring the pitcher and basin for washing of the hands accompanied by either server No. 2 or 3 with the 12

13 LITURGY OF THE EUCHARIST: Offertory/ Presentation of the Gifts hand towel when the Priest lifts the Main Chalice off the Altar slightly. 2. Server no. 1 pours the water on the priest s hands. 3. Server no. 2 or 3 offers the towel to the priest after the washing. 4. When the washing is completed, return the water, basin and towel to the credence table and return to your chairs together with hands folded. 13

14 CONSECRATION CONSECRATION During the Consecration, the bread and wine becomes the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ. Altar Servers should kneel properly on the bottom step of the sanctuary near the pulpit with hands folded. Ring the bell at the following points: 1. Epiclesis Ring the bell ONCE when the Priest extends his hands over the gifts and invokes the Holy Spirit. 2. Elevation of the host Ring the bell THREE times when the host is elevated after the Priest finishes saying this is my Body which will be given up for you. 3. Elevation of the chalice Ring the bell THREE times when the chalice is elevated after the Priest finishes saying Do this in memory of me THE LORD S PRAYER After the Great Amen, all Altar Servers are to stand on the step that they were kneeling on and extend arms for the Lord s Prayer. SIGN OF PEACE When the Sign of Peace begins, offer the sign of peace to the other altar servers and then wait for the priest/ deacon to come to you to offer Christ s peace. The first server to greet the priest should take the Roman Missal from the Altar and place it back on the Credence table. 14

15 COMMUNION PROCESSIONAL Server no. 2 takes the tray of patens (4) to the left side of the altar until the priest/deacon takes off all the patens needed for Communion. After this, he joins the other servers standing in the sanctuary. COMMUNION PROCESSIONAL Remain standing during the fraction rite. Remain standing and participate in the recitation or singing of the Lamb of God. Kneel on the bottom step by the ambo at the end of the recitation or singing of the Lamb of God. Prepare to receive the Body and Blood of Christ. Once Holy Communion has been distributed to the Eucharistic Ministers, rise and stay where you are to receive Holy Communion. Remain in your seats Once you have received Holy Communion, return to your seats. Give thanks to Jesus for having received him today in Holy Eucharist. 15

16 CONCLUDING RITE CLOSING PRAYER Following Holy Communion, the Presider (and Deacon) also sits quietly for prayer and contemplation. As the Presider begins to rise: Server No 1 should also rise and bring the Roman Missal to the Presider for closing prayers. Be attentive, as the Presider may have a comment following the Closing Prayers and will instruct the server to remain at the altar for the Final Blessing. Step to the side and wait. RECESSIONAL Just as with the Entrance Procession, the Recessional should also be done with order and dignity. As soon as the Recessional Music begins: Get the cross and the candles from the work sacristy. The crucifer (server No. 1) leads the other Altar Servers to the front of the sanctuary and lines up in the center aisle in the reverse order of the Entrance Processional. Face the altar and wait for the other ministers to gather at the front of the altar. Venerate the altar with a slight bow of the head as the ministers genuflects/bows. If the altar server is not carrying the cross or a candle, he genuflects with the other ministers. Turn around and begin to process out in the same pace as the Entrance Processional. 16

17 AFTER THE MASS AFTER THE MASS When the singing is completed: Place the Cross and Candles in their PROPER places in the Sacristy. The candles should be placed on top of the small marble top table. Servers No. 2 and 3 pick up the snuffers to extinguish the candles (unless otherwise instructed) Server No. 1 returns the Roman Missal to the Sacristy if there is not another Mass after the one you have just completed. Remove your vestments Return to the Sacristy to remove your vestments. PLEASE HANG THEM NEATLY for the next server to use. Feel free to ask the Sacristan or contact the Coordinator for Altar Servers if you have questions regarding the procedures. 17

18 AFTER THE MASS DEFINITION OF TERMS Alb long, white vestment worn by altar servers during the Mass Aspergillum metal holy water sprinkler Benediction/ Humeral Veil a long, narrow vestment worn by the priest when carrying the Blessed Sacrament. 18

19 AFTER THE MASS Censer a vessel used for burning incense. Chalice the smaller decorated cups used to hold the Precious Blood of Christ for Communion Cincture long, white cord used to fasten the alb at the waist 19

20 AFTER THE MASS Ciborium a cup-like vessel, usually with a lid, used to store and reserve the consecrated hosts in the tabernacle Cope - a cape-like vestment worn by the priest during processions. Credence table small table that holds the vessels used during Mass 20

21 AFTER THE MASS Finger towel small towel used to dry the fingers of the priest at the Preparation of the Gifts Lunette the middle glass part of a Monstrance that holds the Blessed Sacrament Main Chalice the large decorated cup that holds the Precious Blood of Christ. 21

22 AFTER THE MASS Monstrance - large decorated vessel that is to hold the Blessed Sacrament used during Exposition and Benediction(see Lunette) Pall stiff square that is placed over the Main Chalice Paten a saucer-like dish that is used to hold the Precious Body of Christ Purificator a small piece of cloth used to wipe the brim of the chalices during Communion 22

23 AFTER THE MASS Pyx a small vessel that holds the Precious Body of Christ to bring to the sick and the homebound Roman Missal (formerly known as Sacramentary) book containing the prayers used at Mass Snuffer tool used to extinguish the altar candles 23

24

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