The role of Altar Servers is to live out a beautiful act of service by assisting the priest in liturgies and mostly in the celebration of the Eucharist - the Mass.
During the Mass we see the priest acting as Jesus did, blessing and sharing the body and blood of Christ as Jesus instituted in the Last Supper. We hear before the Last Supper,
'the disciples came to Jesus and asked, ‘Where do you want us to make preparations for you to eat the Passover?’
He replied, ‘Go into the city to a certain man and tell him, “The Teacher says: my appointed time is near. I am going to celebrate the Passover with my disciples at your house.”’ So the disciples did as Jesus had directed them and prepared the Passover.
Throughout the Gospels, there are moments where Jesus asked the disciples to serve in little ways. We hear on Palm Sunday of Jesus asking the disciples to untie and bring him the colt in the village that Jesus sat on as he entered Jerusalem. In the feeding of the 5,000 the disciples bring him the five loaves and two fish that he blesses and feeds everyone with. A particular favourite is when he asked Peter to cast a line and the first fish he finds will have a coin in its mouth which they can use to pay the town's tax.
Across the world, though historically it would usually be altar boys aged 7-18, there are often people of all ages, both male and female, serving at Mass. There are a number of roles a server undertakes in Mass including; carrying the cross and the processional candles, holding the book for the priest celebrant when he is not at the altar, carrying the incense and thurible, presenting the bread, wine, and water to the priest during the preparation of the gifts and assisting him when he receives the gifts from the people. Generally they assist the priest celebrant as necessary for the celebration of the liturgy.
It is a great way to play an active part in the celebration and should hopefully help you to learn and understand more about your faith and the liturgy of the Mass itself. It is also a beautiful witness of your faith and there are many priests that say that being an Altar Server played a big part on their faith journey towards becoming a priest (though that's not a requirement).
To become an Altar Server you must be a committed practising Catholic who attends church every week and must have made your First Holy Communion. As well as being a great service to the Lord it also gives you a chance to develop new skills and a wonderful little community of new friends in your fellow servers.
If you, or your child, are interested in becoming an Altar Server, please make yourself known to Fr Michael or Fr Gregory and, after a small amount of training and meeting the rest of the servers, we will hope to add you to the team.