"In the liturgy, you are much more than simple "helpers of the parish priest." Above all, you are servers of Jesus Christ, of the eternal High Priest. Thus, you, altar servers, are called in particular to be young friends of Jesus. Be determined to go deeper and to cultivate this friendship with him. You will discover that in Jesus you have found a true friend for life." SAINT POPE JOHN PAUL II
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. It should be remembered that ministry has in the past been a source of priestly and religious vocations. It could once more be the starting point for a young man to begin thinking about the priesthood or a young woman to develop an interest and love for the religious life.
The server is a member of the assembly who assists the priest and deacon during the Eucharist and other liturgical ceremonies so that the liturgy can be conducted with grace and reverence. Servers should be active and full participants in the celebration with the understanding that they are first and foremost members of the assembly. The server expresses this by singing, praying and keeping silence along with the rest of the assembly.
Ideally, servers are fully initiated Catholics. 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.
Recommended minimum age for youth is roughly the fifth grade. Servers are expected to be appropriately prepared, committed to giving their time and talent to their parish community, and willing to serve God’s people. They should be able to understand the Eucharistic celebration and the other sacred rites.
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.
As with other ministries, the ministry of server requires training and exposure to the following areas:
1. Ministry to the Assembly
- the meaning of service
- types of ministries
2. The Eucharist––sense of its theology and structure
3. Names and descriptions of books, vessels, vestments, locations, the seasons of the year and their importance, the vocabulary of liturgy
- Before the liturgy: what are the expectations and responsibilities of the server when arriving for liturgy? Arrival time?
- During a liturgy: posture and deportment, order of processions, the Introductory Rites, the Liturgy of the Word, the Liturgy of the Eucharist, and the Concluding Rite?
- Following a liturgy: what are the responsibilities of the server in the sacristy and in the worship space?
- Other liturgies––Morning and Evening Prayer, Weddings, Funerals, Baptisms, Quinceañeras, Confirmation, etc
Those who are interested in becoming part of the Altar Servers Ministry should contact the
Parish Office (626) 573-0427
Francisco Paniagua (213) 793-0112
Lourdes Morales (626) 262-654