Notes from Altar Server Meetings on October 26 and November 2, 2014:
Signing in – Please remember to initial after your name on the schedule – If substituting, draw a line through the name and write in yours. If you do not initial in, it will be assumed that you were not present for the Mass. If you have arranged for someone to take your place because you are not available, please e-mail Sandy Brennan with that person’s name so that your absence will not count again you.
Number of Servers on the Altar: Father wants four servers on the Altar now so the positions and jobs will be as follows:
Cross Servers – Lead processions and carries water cruet and towel for washing of Father’s hand. The Cross Server is also responsible for the Bowl Server, kindly making sure they know their job and these instructions.
Bowl Server – Holds the bowl for the washing of Father’s hand.
Book Server – Takes the book to Father before the words “Let Us Pray”, is responsible for making sure it is placed on the Altar before the Eucharistic Prayer and taken off the Altar after Communion. This Server is also responsible for making sure the Book of the Gospels is placed back on the stand while the Altar is being prepared before the Eucharistic Prayers. You are also responsible for kindly making sure the Water Server knows their job and these instructions.
Water Server – Takes the water cruet to Father for the mixing of the water with the wine immediately after the gifts have been placed on the Altar. It is this person’s responsibility to remove the Wine decanter from the Altar after Father has poured the wine into the chalice.
Sitting on the Altar Server pew will be as follows:
Cross Server where they usually sit in the first spot next to the hand washing stand, then the Bowl Server, then the Book Server and in the last position the Water Server.
Arrival – You are to arrive no later than 15 minutes prior to the start of the Mass, immediately put on your alb and proceed to set up for the Mass.
Appearance – No wet hair, torn jeans (bottom), shabby shoes, high heels, or flip flops. Please make sure that your shirts have no logos, or inappropriate pictures on them that can show through the Albs as these can be a distraction and may not be appropriate in Church.
Albs and cinctures – Tie the cincture belt so that the knot is on the left side. Check your look in the mirror to be sure the panels on the alb lay flat, especially in the back, and the pockets are not sticking out.
Altar etiquette – Whenever entering or leaving the Altar area, you need to reverently nod your head towards the Tabernacle. We do this to acknowledge the living presence Christ in our Church in the Tabernacle.
Credence table – Many times, the Eucharistic Ministers set the table before you arrive. Be sure to check the picture posted on the board, and make changes as necessary. Remember, you are ultimately responsible for making sure everything needed for the Mass is there. Please remember to be reverent in your duties while setting up for Mass.
Prayer before Mass – This is the time to place yourself in the right frame of mind, especially if you’re having a difficult morning. Please be present to pray with the Eucharistic Ministers.
Procession – Cross Server please remember you are leading the procession. You start slowly walking down the aisle once the voices for the song start. All other Altar Servers follow the Cross Server at the pace he/she sets. Go directly to your seat once you reach the altar area and remain standing with your hands at your side. Remember to not lean on the pew arms.
Penitential Rite – remember to gently strike your chest each time you say the word “fault” when you say “through my fault, through my fault, through my most grievous fault”.
Let Us Pray – Book Server once you hear the first “amen” at the end of the Gloria (Glory to God in the Highest….) pick up the Book walk over, and stand before the Priest. If the Deacon is there take the Book to the Deacon who will open it to the proper place and then step over to hold the book in front of the Priest. Make sure you hold the Book correctly with the front cover facing out. You do not wait to hear “let us pray”. This will allow the Priest or Deacon, time to find the place, especially if the ribbon is in the wrong spot. Stand holding the Book until the Priest lets you know he has finished the reading. You may then close the book and reverently nod your head to the Priest before proceeding back to your seat.
First and Second Readings – Sit still quietly looking at the person proclaiming the readings. Remember to sing the Psalm responses.
Alleluia – Stand and sing the Alleluia.
Gospel – reverently stand facing towards the Priest/Deacon as he reads the Gospel. Make sure you say the responses and make the sign of the cross on your forehead, lips and heart when Father says “A reading from the holy Gospel according to …”.
Pew behavior – During the readings and the Homily, it is very important that you remain attentive, sit up straight, and listen to the Priest/Deacon. It is distracting to the congregation when a server fidgets, leans, kicks their feet, talks, or plays with the cincture, etc.
Offertory – Cross Bearer will reverently proceed to the Cross and bow to the tabernacle before proceeding to pick up the Cross and going to the entrance of the Church to lead the presentation of the gifts.
Setting the Altar – when the Cross Bearer leaves to go to the front of the Church, Book Bearer, Bowl Bearer and Water Bearer carry the chalice, patens, and book with great reverence and place them in their spots on the Altar. Carry no more than two items at a time. Remember to walk slowly and respectfully. You do not bow during this set up.
Receiving the gifts – Water Server always stands to the right of the Priest. Bowl Server always stands on the left of the Priest. Book Servers walks to the Altar to make sure the basket for the money is put on the small table under the Altar and that the Water and Bowl Servers place the item they have in its proper place. Once the Priest passes the gifts to each Water and Bowl Server, they proceed immediately to the Altar to place the item they received on it. The wine decanter goes on the back right hand corner and the ciborium with the hosts in it go on the square white cloth in the middle of the Altar. Remove the stopper from the wine decanter and place it on credence table.
Water Bearer – Take the cold water to the Priest with the handle of the cruet pointing towards him. Stand patiently while the Priest says the necessary prayers. The Priest will take the cruet from you to mingle the water with the wine and then hand it back to you. Remember to reverently nod your head to the Priest, then pick up the wine decanter and take it with you and put it on the credence table. The wine decanter should not be on the altar during the rest of the Eucharistic Prayers.
Washing of the Hands – Cross and Bowl Servers should be prepared to approach the Altar when the Water Server returns to the table. Once you have completed your task, reverently nod your head to the Priest before proceeding back to the credence table.
Prayers of the Faithful – Be sure to bow your head until the prayers have been completed.
Creed – remember to bow from the waist during the words “and by the Holy Spirit was incarnate of the Virgin Mary, and became man,”.
The Our Father – After the completion of the Eucharistic Prayers and the last “Amen” has been sung, proceed directly to the Priest’s side to hold hands for the Our Father. The servers in charge of the Cross and Bowl go on Father’s left and the Book and Water servers stand on the right. Make sure you sing/say the prayer along with everyone else. Once the prayer has concluded, carefully step back so that you are equally centered behind the Altar. Remember fidgeting and rocking back and forth on your shoes is extremely distracting. Once Father and all Eucharistic Minister have stepped off the Altar steps, you may then proceed to your pew where you will sit quietly while communion is taking place. At this time the Book Server removes the book from the Altar and take it with them back to their seat.
Procedure for Receiving Communion – Remember to nod your head to the Blessed Sacrament and chalice containing the Precious Blood when Father, Deacon or the Minister is presenting them to you. When you hear the words “The Body of Christ” and “The Blood of Christ” make sure you respond “Amen” in an audible voice. If you are not drinking from the cup just move your head from side to side indication that you are not receiving.
Water Server – Take the extra purificator from the Altar and proceed to the small seat next to the ambo. Sit reverently with your legs together during Communion. Sloughing and tapping your feet is a distraction.
Water Server – Should a spill take place, hand the purificator to the Minister of the Cup where the spill happened. They will place the purificator over the spill. Do not pick up the purificator or try to wipe it up yourself. At the conclusion of the Mass the Minister of the Cup will purify the area. The cleaning up of any of the spilled precious blood must be done in a specific way and it is the Minister’s job to do it. The Ministers are also responsible for the picking up and taking care of any consecrated hosts that may be dropped. If a Minister is unaware of a spill or a host being dropped, you can politely point it out to them by taking the purificator so that they can take care of it.
Bowl Server – pay attention to the Water Server in case there is a spill and another purificator is needed. If a purificator is used for a spill you should go directly to the back room and get another one out of the drawer and take it to the Water Server.
Purifying the Chalice and Patens – This is done by Father or the First Minister of the Cup at the credence table. Stay sitting while the purification process is taking place at the credence table. The First Minister of the Cup will remove all patens and Father’s chalice from the Altar to be purified, Altar Servers will no longer do this. As Altar Servers you are not to handle any of the vessels that contain the Blessed Sacrament and/or Previous Blood before they have been purified.
End of Mass – Once the music is announced for the processional, the Cross Bearer will proceed to where the Cross is on the base and reverently nod to the tabernacle before picking up the cross. You remain standing with the Cross until Father walks to the Altar and kisses it.
All Servers then walk to their positions in the aisle at the end of Mass, with your hands at your side. Wait for the Priest to bow, bow with him, then turn to your left and proceed with reverence down the aisle to the Sacristy.
Cleaning up – Wait for processional music to end before walking nto the altar area with your alb on. Do not extinguish the candles unless there is no Mass following your Mass. Leave the book and Cross base on the Altar after each Mass. Sat 5:00 p.m. and Sun 5:30 p.m. servers will ensure that these items are put away in the Sacristy. Remember to reverently nod towards the Tabernacle each time you enter and leave the Altar. Only remove the chalice and patens from the credence table if they have been purified. If they haven’t been leave them for the First Minister of the Cup to purify and then you can remove them as usual.
Properly hang the cincture on the hooks provided. Properly hang alb on hanger and place it to the right of the size number you are wearing on the bar. Let’s remember to be kind to each other and put everything away properly. It is very difficult for our shorter servers to locate their alb size if they are just put anywhere. If you are working with one of the shorter servers who have difficulty reaching the bar, please put the alb on the bar for them once they have properly put it on the hanger.