Altar Server dress


#1

I’ve noticed that in many parishes, altar servers, of either sex, will simply serve at the altar in their jeans and shirt…no alb of any sort. Are altar servers permitted to simply wear “stress dress” when assisting in the sanctuary?


#2

Yes.


#3

That sounds rather odd to me. A server should be in cassock and surplice in my opinion though at our Cathedral I once saw a man in a suit who handed the gifts over to the priest before consecration during the Mass. I think trying to casualize the Mass in such ways should be discouraged.


#4

I’ve cantored and assisted in the Archdiocese of the US Military. Three aren’t enough resources for everyone to have “appropriate” garb.

If the parish has it and it fits, wear it. If not, wear
your “Sunday best.”

If you’re that distracted by who is wearing what, are you the Pharisee or the Publican?


#5

Sometimes, where there is no young server present a priest will ask a gentleman to serve in a pinch. If it’s ok with the priest, I don’t see why anyone else should see a problem.
The number of children available for daytime Masses are few. There are a few homeschoolers that attend daily Mass, but not everywhere.
Our parish just doesn’t have a server on weekdays. If a Deacon is present he will handle the server duties though.


#6

I never said I was distracted by it. I wanted to know what the norms were. The parishes where I’ve noticed the lack of “garb”, as you put it, certainly had the resources.


#7

The Cathedral Mass may have been at noon during the week though either way if one is going to serve I don’t see why they shouldn’t dress the part. I certainly don’t want to start seeing servers in sweat pants and t-shirts as our society becomes ever more casual.


#8

The point is, they may not know in advance that they’re going to be asked to serve.
I go to Mass to receive Eucharist and hear the Word. Not to worry about things like albs and such.
There are lots of places in the world, yes in the U.S. even, where the servers are just pious lay people. In regular dress. Priests do not mind. They are delighted that someone cares enough to serve at the altar. I don’t think anyone shows up at Mass thinking “I’m going to ask to serve and I’m going to dress sloppy on purpose to disrespect the Lord”.
That’s just a stretch that I’m not willing to make about my fellow Catholics.


#9

Even if one isn’t prepared to serve, whatever inappropriate clothing they may be wearing should be covered by the proper robes anyways. According to the General Instruction of the Roman Missal:

  1. In the dioceses of the United States of America, acolytes, altar servers, lectors, and other lay ministers may wear the alb or other suitable vesture or other appropriate and dignified clothing.

I guess I missed the news that jeans and a t-shirt are now dignified clothing.


#10

See, that’s the thing about rules. They don’t ever allow for non-ideal situations. Simply quoting rubrics doesn’t allow for things that just happen for whatever reason. Nobody said anything about the alternate garb being appropriate, preferred or anything.
You’re making a huge deal out of something that rarely occurs, and when it does, there is an explanation. Our parish does happen to have adult sized server robes. Perhaps this place didn’t.
The bottom line is, we shouldn’t make assumptions about the priest’s judgment.


#11

I’m not “making a huge deal” out of anything (in fact your replies have been longer than mine) nor have I mentioned anything specifically about your parish(?). The original poster stated “I’ve noticed that in many parishes, altar servers, of either sex, will simply serve at the altar in their jeans and shirt…no alb of any sort.” Sounds like it’s happening with at least some regularity wherever “twf” is talking about.


#12

I’m not “making a huge deal” out of anything (in fact your replies have mostly been longer than mine) nor have I mentioned anything specifically about your parish(?). The original poster stated “I’ve noticed that in many parishes, altar servers, of either sex, will simply serve at the altar in their jeans and shirt…no alb of any sort.” Sounds like it’s happening with at least some regularity wherever twf is talking about.


#13

If there are no robes for servers, then they should ideally wear Sunday best, business casual, or business professional style clothes that is also clean, neat, and modest. The same should also apply for those who serve not just as altar servers but those who serve as cantors, psalmists, musicians/choir, lectors, and EMHCs.


#14

I think you answered the question without realizing it. In your quote, the operative term is “may”.

“May” is not mandatory, it is hortative.

I would agree that jeans are not the most appropriate dress; however, they are children, and sartorial expertise is not normally attributed to them. Pastors certainly can set rules as to dress; they can also find that they don’t have enough servers. Should they provide albs? One would certainly think it would be a good idea, and one would always be welcome to ask the pastor about it - and then immediately follow up by providing one’s checkbook to write the check.


#15

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