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Altar Server Guidelines
Order of Mass | Serving Procedures | St. Tarcisius | Glossary

First of all, thank you. We are grateful for your volunteering to help us celebrate our liturgies to the best of our abilities. Being an altar server is a position of leadership, service, ministry, and prayer all at once. You will learn a lot about yourself, and also have a deeper appreciation of the Eucharist and other sacraments at the same time.

Here are a few things to keep in mind:

  • Responsibility. The people who attend Mass count on you as part of our prayer leadership. You help to ensure that things go smoothly. Our Sunday Masses are too important to be sloppy.
  • Showing Up. We need you to serve every time you are scheduled. If you are sick or out of town, please get a substitute and let Diahne Goodwin ( or Deacon Charlie ( know
  • Mistakes. No matter how well you are prepared, occasionally things go wrong. There is no such thing as perfect. When something goes wrong, stay calm. It is okay to make a mistake - that's how we learn. Don't be afraid to ask a more experienced server or Fr. Walter or Fr. Paul or Deacon Charlie.
  • Smile. Sometimes we forget the joy of being loved by God. All of us, Fr. Walter, Fr. Paul, Deacon Charlie, the Lectors, Musicians, Eucharistic Ministers and the people in the pews are learning with you how to be more relaxed and smile in church. Perhaps you can teach us how to smile better.
  • Posture. Remember that your respect for the Eucharist is shown through your posture. You are a symbol of service to God. Please stand and kneel straight, fold hands and pay attention to what is going on.
  • Participate in the singing and the prayers. Try it - you might like it!

Thank you so much for being part of our Liturgical Team.

The Order of Mass
Since servers are very important ministers of the celebration, you need to be familiar with the order of mass.

Introductory Rites

  • Procession. Usually done from the back of the church down the center aisle. When we celebrate a baptism at Mass, this happens after the welcoming rite of Baptism.
  • Greeting.
  • Blessing and Sprinkling Holy Water sometimes replaces Penitential Act during Easter Season.
  • Penitential Act. We say the Confiteor (I confess to almighty God, and to you ...) or Lord Have Mercy.
  •  Gloria. This hymn is sung or said on all Sundays outside of Lent and Advent.
  • Opening Prayer.

Liturgy of the Word

  • First Reading. Read by the lector, usually from the Old Testament.
  • Responsorial Psalm. Led by the cantor (song leader).
  • Second Reading. Read by a lector, usually from the New Testament.
  • Gospel Acclamation. Sung.
  • Gospel. Taken from one of the Gospels, it is read by the priest or deacon.
  • Homily.
  • Profession of Faith.(omitted when we do a baptism)
  • General Intercessions. We also call these the Prayer of the Faithful or the Universal Prayer

Liturgy of the Eucharist

  • Preparation of the Gifts – the gifts of bread, wine and the offering are brought to the altar, the priest or deacon prepares the chalices and the priest blesses the offerings and the cleanses his hands.
  • Eucharistic Prayer. The parts of the Eucharistic prayer are:
    • the Holy, Holy;
    • the Institution;
    • the Memorial Acclamation;
    • the Great Amen.

Communion Rite.

This begins with the Our Father and ends with the Prayer after Communion which the priest leads from the chair

Concluding Rite

  •  Brief Announcements.
  • Blessing.
  • Sending Forth.
  • The ministers leave in procession, departing the sanctuary area in the order in which they entered.

St. Tarcisius
Patron Saint of Altar Servers

Memorial. August 15

Profile. Third-fourth century layman. While taking Communion to prisoners, Tarcisius was attacked by a pagan mob, and died defending the Host. Martyr. It is said that when the pagans searched him after beating him to death, there was no trace of the Sacrament.

Prayer of an Altar Server.
O God, You have graciously called me to serve You upon Your altar. Grant me the graces that I need to serve You faithfully and wholeheartedly. Grant too that while serving You, may I follow the example of St. Tarcisius, who died protecting the Eucharist, and walk the same path that led him to Heaven.  St. Tarcisius, pray for me and for all altar servers.