Cross bearer


As an altar server, have you carried the Cross?





When I served, often. Looking back, it sadly was throught of as one of the more undesirable jobs.


No, we never did that at my parish when I was a kid.

My daughter is always assigned as the “cross bearer,” which she likes. For most of the Mass she can sit to the side, behind a pillar, and essentially hide.


I think as a kid, it was considered “undesirable” simply because the cross was too heavy to bear (yes, pun intended).


Often I have carried the Cross.


When I was a kid, often. In my parish, being selected as crucifer was considered a promotion from being a standard “altar boy,” as we were then called.

There was a regular training program (and a hierarchy of more and less desirable Mass times). We started just being present in the procession and on the podium, to being torch bearers, to assisting at the altar, to more closely assisting the celebrating priest.

I think I was 14 or 15 (and 5’11") when I was first asked to carry the processional crucifix. Tall boys got “promoted” first. I got very good at giving wayward younger altar boys a withering look when I saw them playing around and not paying attention.



When I was in the eighth grade, I was selected to carry the Cross for the procession of second graders when they made their First Holy Communion.


I got to carry the cross as the youngest altar server in my first parish. I was only 5, and when I carried it, the priest used to tell my parents, “Here comes drunk Jesus,” because the cross would sway side to side. :slight_smile:

I enjoyed being an altar server, even though I had a hard time staying awake during Mass.


Yes. I have been an altar server once, at a weekday Holy Day Mass when I was in my mid-40’s, and since I was also the only altar server I carried the Crucifix.



Cross bearer is the “rookie” assignment for new altar servers at our parish. The next step is acolyte (of which there are two) and finally master of ceremonies. When I give tours of the church to classes of young children, most are excited to try carrying the cross.


I know of very few bishops who have men as instituted Acolytes in their diocese unless these men are candidates for the priesthood or diaconate. In fact, if memory serves, Bishop Bruskewitz in Lincoln, NB was the only bishop still doing this. Usually they are over a certain age (eg. 21), and they are instituted for a particular parish. They not only serve at the altar but are also first in the “pecking” order of Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion. Per canon law, acolytes can only be male.


In my parish, the task is usually given to the oldest or the tallest server, since our cross is brass and rather heavy.

You were five years old? Most parishes don’t allow children to serve at the altar until they have made their first Holy Communion.


When I served mass, I too frequently carried the cross and generally volunteered to do so. I look back with great fondness on my days as a server.


It has been an interesting aspect of my journey in faith. The only apparent reasons to me for the permission to serve early were a small parish with fewer servers, plus my father was one of the altar server trainers, and my brother was an altar server. However, there is definitely a calling to follow Jesus from his early service in the Church!


Interesting fact: the other Latin word for this, besides “crucifer,” is “draconarius,” because the Cross is Jesus’ standard, and the Roman cavalry standard was the “draco.” So a draconarius is a standardbearer, or what we would call a flagbearer.

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