Age of altar servers


#1

Are there any norms or guidelines on the age of altar servers? My 2 older sons ages 14 and 12 think they are too old. Just wondering if there are any guidelines? Our paris has a lack of them so losing the both of them would be hard.


#2

We have a 16 year old at my church. They could be lectors or Eucharistic ministers.


#3

There are no age guidelines except for those established by your pastor.

We are a downtown Cathedral parish; our parishioners are older and we have relatively few families with children. We often use adult altar servers at daily Mass and at the 7:30 a.m. on Sunday. Most of our EF servers are young adult men.

Ages 12 and 14 certainly don’t seem too old to me. They’d be among the youngest of our servers!


#4

There are no rules on age as far as I know.


#5

Canon 230 governs the installed acolytes, which is an instituted role open to adult lay men with qualifications established by the bishop's conference.

When there are no instituted acolytes, lay persons may fulfill these roles. There are no qualifications per canon law. In practice, altar servers must have at least received First Communion, so 7 or 8 years old. There is no upward "age limit" as adult servers are common.

Your boys are simply at "that age" where Church is not cool.

Can. 230 §1. Lay men who possess the age and qualifications established by decree of the conference of bishops can be admitted on a stable basis through the prescribed liturgical rite to the ministries of lector and acolyte.

Nevertheless, the conferral of these ministries does not grant them the right to obtain support or remuneration from the Church.

§2. Lay persons can fulfill the function of lector in liturgical actions by temporary designation. All lay persons can also perform the functions of commentator or cantor, or other functions, according to the norm of law.

§3. When the need of the Church warrants it and ministers are lacking, lay persons, even if they are not lectors or acolytes, can also supply certain of their duties, namely, to exercise the ministry of the word, to preside offer liturgical prayers, to confer baptism, and to distribute Holy Communion, according to the prescripts of the law.


#6

Eucharistic ministers would be awesome! Please pray for vocations to the priesthood, because the more Eucharistic ministers (priests) we have, the fewer Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion (EMHCs) are needed!


#7

I am an altar server. I'm 49 years old. :D

If I don't become a deacon, then I hope to be buried in a cassock and surplice so that everyone can say that I served at my own funeral. I think that would be fun. :p

-Tim-


#8

[quote="TimothyH, post:7, topic:310678"]
I am an altar server. I'm 49 years old. :D

If I don't become a deacon, then I hope to be buried in a cassock and surplice so that everyone can say that I served at my own funeral. I think that would be fun. :p

-Tim-

[/quote]

I always get the impression that Los Angeles is wildly different from the rest of the country. I have never seen an altar server older than a teenager, though I know it's allowed.


#9

All the old altar servers moved east, to the deep south. The one’s from up north, too. They all came to Altanta.

Come to Atlanta, look up in the sanctuary and you’ll see a bunch of good looking mature men with grey hair. :smiley:

We swing a mean thurible, too. :thumbsup:

Some of us can’t kneel too well though. :blush:

-Tim-


#10

I would tell the boys if they don't want to be altar servers any more, fine. They can choose some other volunteer job to do at the parish. Lawn mowing, janitorial, painting, etc..


#11

There is no age limit, as far as I know. I have seen grown men do it. I have been an altar server since I was eleven. At my parish, young men do it until they turn eighteen. Young men may continue to do it if they go on to the seminary or some Catholic college.

I am a professional altar server. Trust me!

Here's some principles and wisdom for altar servers:

1) It is a great honor to altar serve.

2) At the brink of one's death, all the Masses at which he altar served will serve to console him in his dying hour - if I had lived a life of abject failure, I would remember my years of altar service and be consoled.

3) Be invisible except when acting.

4) Be Roman - stiff, attentive, and dignified.

5) Move like angels

6) Listen to your mother

7) Love God


#12

I second that motion!!! (to me too:D)

To the OP:

I am the youngest acolyte in my parish, and the other two regulars are over 40. We also had one become a deacon last year, so you can clearly see that serving is not something that gets “too old”

1ke posted that they are “at that age where church is ‘not cool’”. I would say that if your kids feel like they want to serve, then they are seeking something within the church that they can hold on to, to help their faith grow stronger. I don’t think any other time could be better to give them that opportunity! They will never tire of it, trust me. I have been serving since seven!


#13

my sons are 18 and 15 and still serve. I’ve notice in parishes that have an elementary school, it seems like there is a big drop out after 8th grade. In parishes without a school, it seems like you do see older teenagers still serving,


#14

[quote="KimberlyAnn0218, post:1, topic:310678"]
Are there any norms or guidelines on the age of altar servers? My 2 older sons ages 14 and 12 think they are too old.

[/quote]

I'm a 43-year-old altar server, and I'm not the oldest server at my parish,,, by a long shot.

...oh, and I'm a long way from California. :)


#15

I met one who was pushing seventy. Trust me, they’re not too grown.


#16

Depending on the parish I could see they think they are too old. Our local parish seems like all the servers are between 8 and 10. At the FSSP parish we have servers between 7 and 18 (normally 8 - 10 servers covering all ages each Mass)


#17

My dad served Mass from the time he was 12 until he married at 40 -- for the same priest. I have his surplice, which was lovingly washed and folded by the priest's housekeeper and given to him as a souvenir of his years of service. He picked it up the ministry again for daily Mass when he retired at 65. There is no upper age limit.

He later became an EMHC until he could no longer walk up the sanctuary steps, around the age of 80.


#18

If I run through my parish, we have servers ages 10, 12, 15, 16, 18, 20, 48, 53, and 67

So no, they're not too old. If they're looking to become more engaged, maybe they could ask the pastor for some more responsibility? Some sacristan duties, et cetera.


#19

[quote="Elizium23, post:6, topic:310678"]
Eucharistic ministers would be awesome! Please pray for vocations to the priesthood, because the more Eucharistic ministers (priests) we have, the fewer Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion (EMHCs) are needed!

[/quote]

Wouldn't it be better to pray for more Eucharistic Minsters and EMHCs because that would mean our churches are full to overflowing?

Think BIG!


#20

[quote="KimberlyAnn0218, post:1, topic:310678"]
Are there any norms or guidelines on the age of altar servers? My 2 older sons ages 14 and 12 think they are too old. Just wondering if there are any guidelines? Our paris has a lack of them so losing the both of them would be hard.

[/quote]

In our parish, the altar boys are first accepted at about age 5, and then continue on well into college.

In addition, just about every boy is an altar boy, and they all serve whenever they are present. At a main Sunday Mass, there will be 70+ altar boys. And the smaller Masses ( like 7:00am or 8:30pm), there might only be 8-12 altar boys serving.

At the very least, it's positive peer pressure, and at the other ends, well we get 1-2 men from our parish Ordained to the priesthood each year


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