St. Lambert Church
8148 Karlov Ave
Skokie, IL 60076 (847) 673-5090
Although formal institution into the ministry of acolyte is reserved to lay men, the diocesan bishop may permit the liturgical functions of the instituted acolyte to be carried out by altar servers, both men and women without making distinctions between the functions carried out by each. In the Archdiocese of Chicago such is the case.
Servers should be mature enough to understand their responsibility and to carry them out well and with appropriate reverence. They should be fully initiated Catholics in the state of grace.”
All servers should receive proper instruction and formation before they begin to function including thorough knowledge of the Mass, its parts and meanings, the names and uses of the various objects used in the liturgy and their function during Mass and other liturgical celebrations. They should also be instructed as to maintaining appropriate decorum and attire when serving Mass and other functions. In St. Lambert servers wear the same ministerial robes as other ministers.
Since they are an integral part of the Mass, there should always be at least one server at each Mass to assist the priest presiding. On Sundays it is preferable to have two or more. Servers respond to the prayers and dialogues of the priest along with the congregation. They also join in singing hymns and other chants of the liturgy.
Functions of Servers
Servers lead the liturgical procession carrying the cross and candles. The cross leads and the two candles follow.
Upon reaching the altar, the server carrying the cross will stand to the left side of the altar leaving enough room for the servers carrying the candles to stand at each end of the altar. They remain in that position until after the deacon and priest/s reverence the altar.
They then proceed to the first pew on the ambo side so they can easily assist the priest celebrant and deacon. If there is need for some Extraordinary Ministers of the Eucharist to sit in the first pew, servers should allow them to enter first.
Servers should be alert to respond to the needs of priests and deacon. When the priest says “Let us pray” be ready to hold the Missal in front of him. Stand directly in front of the priest so he is directly facing the people as he reads from the book. The priest will usually signal the end of the prayer by touching the Missal. The Missal should then be closed and returned to the credence table and placed on the missal stand.
If there are al least two servers, the servers will pick up the candles and stand on either side of the altar before the reading of the Gospel. They will remain there until the priest or deacon signals he is ready to go to the ambo. They will then lead the priest or deacon to the ambo where they will stand on either side through the reading of the Gospel. At the end, they will return the candles to their holding place and resume their places in their pew.
For the offertory, servers should be prepared to take the Missal and the chalices to the altar and then follow the priest to assist in receiving the bread and wine and carry them to the altar where the deacon and or the priest will place them in their proper position. If more than one server is present, one should take the Missal and the other assist with the gifts. If a deacon is present, typically he would carry the chalice to and prepare the altar.
Servers should bring the water and wine cruets to the altar with the stoppers removed and the handles facing the priest or deacon. After the chalice is prepared by the priest or deacon, the servers take the cruets back to the side and (if no incense is being used) return with the water cruet and the dish and be prepared to pour a small amount of water over the priest’s hands. The other will hold the unfolded towel by the corners for the priest to dry his fingers. If there is only one server, the towel should be draped over the left wrist with the dish in the left hand and the water in the right. The cruets, dish and towel may be then left on the side or on the credence table.
It is preferred not to ring the bells at the conclusion of the Sanctus but rather during the Eucharistic Prayer WHEN THE PRIEST PLACES HIS HANDS OVER THE BREAD AND WINE at the epiclesis.
At the consecration, a server should ring the bells three times each during he elevation first of the Body of Christ and again at the elevation of the Blood of Christ.
Servers may not distribute communion unless they are also Extraordinary Ministers of the Eucharist.
If there is a sprinkling rite during the Mass, a server may be called to assist the priest by carrying the Holy Water (bucket or aspersorium). If there is a deacon present, the deacon would normally accompany the priest. The priest will carry the Aspergilium . In some instances a branches may be used instead of the metal sprinkler.
After the final blessing, the servers will take the cross and candles again and position themselves in the same places they were upon entering the sanctuary, and then lead the ministers in the recessional after the priest (and deacon) reverence the altar.
Use of incense
If incense is to be used during the mass, and there are sufficient servers, the server carrying the Thurible leads the procession.
The priest celebrant may decide to incense the altar and on specific occasions may also incence a special icon or image at the beginning of the Mass. Servers will be called upon to present the Thurible and boat to the priest or deacon.
In incense is to be used for the reading of the Gospel, the thurible and boat should be brought to the celebrant before the deacon receives the blessing. The server then receives the thurible back from the celebrant. The server stands behind the priest or deacon who will proclaim the Gospel ready to hand the thurible to him following the introduction of the Gospel reading. After incensing the Bood of the Gospels, the priest or deacon will hen hand the thrurible back to the server. The server remains behind the Deacon/Priest during the reading of the Gospel swinging the Thurible gently back and forth. At the conclusion of the Gospel, the Thurible is returned to its stand.
GLOSSARY OF TERMS