Service at the altar represents a long liturgical tradition. Taking up the important and valued ministry of altar serving often accompanies the start of a young person’s journey of faith. Many continue on into their teens performing this service, and for most, it represents a memorable and formative stage of their early faith years.
In theory anyone baptised, girls or boys, can serve at the altar during Mass. However it is usual to reserve the ministry to those who have also made their first Holy Communion.
Altar servers, by their skills and knowledge serve the priest by helping the smooth-running of the Liturgy. They carry, bring and fetch the things needed at the altar, ring the bells during Mass and they carry candles in procession. They can also help prepare the altar, credence and offertory tables before Mass begins. And help clear the altar after Mass.
The Liturgy Office of The Catholic Church in England and Wales produces a useful guide for Servers and their ministry at Mass.
If you are interested in becoming an altar server in your local parish please contact your parish priest.