Altar Servers are part of a very ancient tradition in the liturgical life of the church. Within the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, in accord with permission given by the Holy See, both men and women, some younger some older, may function as servers of Word and Sacrament.

Requirements

Altar servers must have received the Sacraments of Baptism and Eucharist; youths who have not been confirmed may serve. Servers normally receive the Eucharist whenever they participate in the liturgy. The minimum age and scheduling procedures are left to the Parish Pastor's discretion. Recommended minimum age for youth is roughly the fifth grade.

Responsibilities

Servers carry the cross and the processional candles. They hold the book for the priest celebrant when he is not at the altar. They carry the incense and censer and present the bread and wine along with the water to the priest during the preparation of the gifts or assist him when he receives the gifts from the people. Servers wash the hands of the priest, and assist the priest and deacon as necessary. In the absence of a sacristan, the servers may prepare the altar and sacred vessels before Mass.

The number of servers varies according to the nature of the celebration. Since the tasks of the server can vary depending upon local circumstances, it is important that the Parish Pastor develop a Ministry Description for Servers so that they will be aware of their role and their responsibilities.