Newly Appointed Altar Server-Advice?

I am now officially an altar server in my parish. Although my name only comes on the duty roster in May 2015, I did help out yesterday with the Palm Sunday Mass. Happily the Priest told me I did well for a 1st timer.

Does anyone have any advice on the job? I must admit there are some embarrassing aspects that I can’t do right. I know the definition of Apostolic Succession, Papal infallibility, when an ex cathedra pronouncement has been made by the Pope, transubstantiation, the Chaplet of divine Mercy, the importance of the Rosary and the role of the Saints. But I can’t remember what to call the little boat thingy the incense is carried in.:o

The boat thingy is called a boat :slight_smile:

Don’t worry to much about making mistakes. If you become too “married to rubrics”, you can risk missing Mass. Keep serving Jesus as the focus, the functions of serving will become more engrained as you gain exposure. Just make sure you get to Mass early, spend time in reflection before anything else. I would (and do) say the vesting prayers as I vest for service. Here they are in English if you don’t typically use any:

When you wash your hands:
Give virtue to my hands, O Lord, that being cleansed from all stain I might serve you with purity of mind and body.

When you put on the cassock:
O Lord, the portion of my inheritance and my chalice, You are He who will restore my inheritance.

When you put on the surplice:
Invest me, O Lord, as a new man, who was created by God in justice and the holiness of truth. Amen.

This sort of things help prepare you for the honor of serving at Our Lord’s altar.

Hi Johann,

I also am a new Altar server (I am 40 years old!!) and were worried about making mistakes, My Master of Ceremonies reminded me that serving at the Altar should also be a pleasure and not a chore. He reminded me to relax and keep one eye on him when it was my turn to do something and he would (and still does!) help me if I was in need of it.

May God Bless you


I would say watch what is going on, try to relax and remember, if something goes wrong it’s not the end of the world, most people won’t even notice.

On Holy Thursday today, there was a sudden and unexpected shortage of altar servers and Father asked me fto help, so I volunteered. I had 2 tasks, ring the bell during the Gloria, and light to candles around the Eucharist before adoration after mass.

My bell ringing was completely tone deaf. And the candles kept going out during the Eucharistic adoration, which meant I had to repeatedly relight them.

Had I known I would be called to serve, I would have done more preparation.

I was an altar server at school for 4 1/2 years. I had a lot of fun. The thing used to hold incense is a special censer called a thurible. A thurible is the little pot on a chain that the priest will use to carry burning incense. I remember that lighting the censer was a pain in the neck.

A tip would be to follow along with the order of the Mass and to keep your eyes on the priest. Before my first Mass, the priest told me to watch him and act like I know what I’m doing. Don’t run on the altar or rush, the priest will wait.

Good luck:thumbsup:

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