Adult Altar Servers

I have recently returned to the Catholic Church (Roman Rite). I have been feeling ‘called’ to be an Altar Server. I have not yet consulted with my Parish Priest if this is possible in our Church. But I was encouraged by many of the responses that people posted regarding adult servers in their Churches. I’m 51, and just don’t want to look like “the oldest living Altar Server” still surviving !!!
Also…re: the posters who did respond to the question of Adult Servers in their Churches…topical question ? : what do they wear ? Alb ? Traditional 'Altar Server cassock and Surplice ? I should add that the Church I attend does not use The Tridentine Mass. The Altar Servers (boys and girls) of Middle School age simply wear the white Altar Server Alb.
All responses welcome,
thank you

There’s no age limit imposed by the church. Ask your priest if he’ll accept you. It’s your call whether you’ll be comfortable being the oldest altar server. The desire to serve and the service given is more important than age.:slight_smile:

I’m 18 and my church won’t allow me to serve. Just depends on the priest.

Come and serve. We need more adult altar servers to train and supervise the youngsters. I’m 64 and still serving and my Parish has three altar servers in their 70s.

Maybe ask about serving during daily mass instead of Sunday mass?

Also, for for the older group, are you possibly being called to the Diaconate? Consider it.

Nah. I don’t really have the… means… to go to daily mass. The silly thing is that the altar servers that we do have are very, I mean very, poor at their duties.

My only advice would be: Don’t worry about your age!:smiley: I’m 41 and I’ve served Mass with a man who was 80+ at a Traditional Latin Mass. And when I was a teenager the head altar-server was 70.

PS. Can’t speak for everyone, but I prefer a server “of mature years” who know what he’s doing and serves reverently, to a 10-year-old who is restless and has to be prompted all the time (like one or two of the servers in my parish).

An older server would be a good role model to the younger servers.

I’m 24 and just became a server this year, for the most part I serve funeral masses since the parish wants adults to do this and not the kids. as for the white albs, the weekend masses do wear them however I and the other servers for requim masses wear black cossacks and surplace. Hope this helps, I’d say go for it :smiley:


At my church we have several adult altar servers. They are men who were trained as servers in their youth and step up to help out when necessary. They are not scheduled for Masses with the younger (middle and high school boys), but often serve daily Masses, or in the occasion when the boys scheduled can’t make it and no other subs step up. For example, my son regularly served an early morning daily Mass. His new school schedule doesn’t allow him to be there any more and there isn’t another boy who has committed to covering that Mass. So, one of the men who is at Mass anyway, steps up to help Father.

In your situation, speak to your priest. He may have great need for you in an area that you never thought of - or as an altar server!

Maybe you could ask your priest if you could help with altar server training.

Mike, you will not be the oldest, I assure you. I’m 48 and there are many older than I, some well into retirement. We too serve daily masses and especially serve for funerals. We are called the Arimathean Ministry because of our service at funerals. Recently we have been asked to captain the team of kids who serve at the school Mass on Wednesday, to ensure that they are doing everything right, sort of like an Master of Ceremonies of sort.

I wear a cassock and surplice as do our children altar servers, but Father will be switching the kids to plain albs soon.


Mike, I know a man a decade older than you who still serves at Mass. Daily mass, just his shirt and slacks. Actually, I can think of several.

Go for it. Someone suggested serving weekday Masses until you get up to speed. That is an excellent idea. I serve Mass as an adult and I am hypercritical on myself because I have attended too many Masses that have been negatively impacted by either untrained, inexperienced and/or uncaring servers. That’s why I got into it and serving Mass during the week was a superb way to come up to speed.

As far as garb, go out and serve 50-100 Masses, “make your bones” and THEN decide what you will wear with your pastor’s concurrence of course.

Well…all i can say is…i sure hope you’re not a FEMALE.
(I assume “Mike” is male…but if not…)
Because the church in your area may suddenly, with no warning or discussion or full explanation, decide female altar servers are not allowed anymore and you will be dumped.
And the majority of the people on this site are against altar-females…so you might not get much support here…

Did you even read the threads you were posting on? A.) The girls were not dumped, in those few parishes have stopped accepting girls as servers the priests kept on the girls already serving. B) This thread is not about girls serving, but about older people serving. It (just like girl servers) depends on what the priest decides. No one has the right to serve the altar.

[edited] The person discerning whether to altar serve as an adult should care what the pastor thinks. Period. He’s the one (within the guidance of his ordinary) who decides if females, older people, etc. may serve.

We have several adults, males and females, who serve at the altar. Especially at 7 a.m. daily Mass, we have adults. We also have some adults who serve on Sundays. They are great examples and teachers for the younger servers, male and female.

All of our servers wear cassock and surplice. We are at a Cathedral, and the rector thinks cassock and surplice fit the cathedral better.

He’s right. :slight_smile: Cassocks and surplices look way better on both adult male servers and altar boys.

I serve at Friday evening mass after Holy Hour and the occasional daily mass. I really love doing this. I’m female and I’m just shy of 60. We have adult servers on Sat. evenings too, and most of them are female. The kids in our very tiny, mostly senior, church usually serve on Sunday mornings and often we now have 4 or 5 servers, and it’s wonderful.
We have all adult servers during daily masses and for funerals.

A cassock and a surplice is OK if one is not seeking a formal and elegant look. If one wants to achieve that they need to wear something different.

First, they would start with a long sleeved white shirt, black trousers, black socks and well polished black shoes. French cuffs are OK for those who can pull them off but they look affected on most people, particularly those ot seems who try to wear them. Then a black cassock. Like a suit, a gentleman would never wear a cassock without a tiny bit of white cuff showing if he is trying to dress in a formal or elegant manner.

Next comes an amice. Use a simple traditional one and take your time putting it on. Have someone help you if need be to properly tuck it in. Like the cuffs/cassock on your hands, the amice is “framing your neck.” Next an “over the head” alb that looks identical to a Roman surplice. Like the french cuffs if you can pull it off, wear an alb with lace that will show the black of the cassock on the arms and shins. If you can’t pull it off then wear a plan white alb. Very carefully gather the alb with a cincture. A white cincture is most traditional and make sure you know how to correctly cinch it.

If you pastor demands that you wear a pectoral cross, stay away from the crude olive wood/leather bootlace combinations. Buy a very understated and fairly small crucifix and chain in gold (plated is just fine.) If you have to wear a crucifix you can get a matching gold cincture that will give a look of elegance.

If you watch readers (often seminarians) at Papal Masses that’s pretty much how the vest. The cassock surplice is a nice, traditional look but it’s neither formal nor elegant.

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