Adult altar serving

Whats everyones thoughts on more adult men being alter servers. ?

I would be delighted to see that. Altar serving was a way to let young men have a sample of the priestly duties, and possibly lead them to religious life. Adults can do this also.
Dominus vobiscum

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It’s fine with me, and actually adult men and adult women serving Mass is the normal practice at many churches that don’t have an elementary school to provide a supply of young servers. Even when there is such a school, the adults will serve at Masses during times when school is not in session, such as vacation breaks.


In our diocese, we have seen an increase in Acolytes being instituted. Don’t know if it is because it is harder to get altar servers or if it is the reverse.

I will say personally that the more people there are up around the altar during Mass, the more distracting it is as a parishioner.

My personal preference again, is that youth serve on the altar. Whether or not this leads to vocations, I have no idea, but I can’t see that it hurts the numbers.

Of course for funerals, and things that take place when children are normally in school, adults do have to fill the role.

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I think it is be coming far more common. If I attend mid-week Mass anywhere it is always an adult, more often than not of retired age who serves. I went two weeks ago to midday Mass at the cathedral and the altar server was a very elderly gentleman.

I remember having to go to morning Mass every day for a week at a time to serve when I was young. We did this before we went to school. As there was more than one team of servers (imagine that nowadays!) we did a week then had a week or two off before it was our turn again. My sons only ever served on Sundays.

The role of altar boy has always been for priestly formation. There is no need for a man or woman to make the short trip from the credence table to the altar.

Adult men are also included and involved in priestly formation. Historically and currently, adult men have become priests via the altar server route.

Adult men have a role in helping the boys through setting good examples. As an altar boy in my youth, I learned a lot from them.


Yeah there are lots of adult men that discern priesthood through alter serving and being fully involved in the mass deepens once holiness.

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I would think the deaconate would be a better choice, however if there were men on the altar when I served, I wouldn’t have served. My son with his 8 years of experience has woman with 1/2 a year experience up there directing him. I see clearly his discouragement, and rightly so. BTW he wants to be a priest of God one day.

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That’s great to hear. I wish your son well.

I have served the altar both as a youth and as an adult. As a youth, the manners and disciplines shown by the adults were both affirming and reassuring during Mass. I learned a lot from them. Now, as an adult, whenever I serve along with the boys, I am very cognizant of my experienced role in setting good examples for them. The boys do pay attention to my body movements and to even tiny facial movements while serving at the altar.

A few of the adult servers I served with have become good/holy priests.

Unless the alternative is to have the priest alone at the altar without assistance. “Always about priestly formation?” Certainly the role of server provided boys with a closeness to the liturgy, but I think to ascribe serving to “priestly formation” overstates things somewhat, to say nothing about being 10 or 15 years ahead of what real “formation” is.


Well we can look at it from the other direction. How many priests were altar boys first? Secondly, how do the priests ever manage weekday mass pre Vatican II . Simply put, they placed the chalice and the purifiers on the altar.

I am adult Male and discerning priesthood amd serve daily mass after work. Its something that I really enjoy and feel honoured


I have no problem with it.

We need that as an example for all men in the Church but young men especially

Most churches in USA have young “altar girls” now, so clearly it is not just for priestly formation any more.

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I thought historically boys were used because adult acolytes were not available, not the reverse.


The Bishop of my dioceses had to tell his parish priest to recruit boys to serve because as the boys saw girls doing it, they stayed away from it as boys usually do. :smiley:


The parish near me, went to adult altar servers, males and females, but few females volunteered. Most females volunteered to read or be EMHCs

The reason was that the former pastor got fed up with kids not showing up for their scheduled time and not doing the job properly. So, he went with adults and it stuck

My parish should do the same as the young altar servers, especially the girls, are out of touch with what’s going on, fidgeting, and yawning from being bored. Also, the altar boy who always wipes his nose on the sleeve of the robe is disgusting !

That is true. The role carried out by altar servers should be done by acolytes. Of course the average parish has no acolytes so that is where altar boys came in. Not one of my peers with whom I served became a priest. We may have looked angelic is our cassocks and cottas, faces scrubbed clean and hair neatly brushed, but looks can be deceptive.

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