Should an altar server look out for those who do not consume communion?


#1

Today I was altar serving and I was vigilant in making sure that everyone who received made sure they consumed it.

Should this be a duty of mine? I didn't go through any 'formal' altar serving training, just learned how to serve, and thats about it. Not any protocol or anything.

And If I did see someone just take it, should I follow them and say, Excuse me, please consume it.
If they do, I will go back.
If they do not, what do I do?
If they do not know how to, do I take it back up to the chalice and place it back?

SO MANY QUESTIONS!

Thank you!


#2

I think that duty falls under priest and eucharistic minister.


#3

I have been told that if we receive communion in the hand, we are to place the host, a.k.a., Jesus, in our mouths before we step away and return to our seats.


#4

You should perhaps ask your parish priest what he would like you to do. It is no fault of yours if you do not know, and certainly he will want you to do as he instructs. :)


#5

I don't really think that should be one of the jobs of an altar server, especially if the servers are little kids. What are they going to do -- threaten to throw down if the person doesn't consume the host RIGHT NOW?


#6

[quote="DaveBj, post:5, topic:294978"]
I don't really think that should be one of the jobs of an altar server, especially if the servers are little kids. What are they going to do -- threaten to throw down if the person doesn't consume the host RIGHT NOW?

[/quote]

Well I'm 15 in high school and discerning the priesthood intently...So I was just making sure they consume it, because the priest is busy dispersing communion rather to make sure they consume it.


#7

[quote="JD27076, post:6, topic:294978"]
Well I'm 15 in high school and discerning the priesthood intently...So I was just making sure they consume it, because the priest is busy dispersing communion rather to make sure they consume it.

[/quote]

Its not your job.

Especially seeing that you are a minor.

What will you do? Grab them if they do not follow your command?

You have no authority to do this. It is the job of the Priest.


#8

[quote="Friar_David_O.Carm, post:7, topic:294978"]
Its not your job.

Especially seeing that you are a minor.

What will you do? Grab them if they do not follow your command?

You have no authority to do this. It is the job of the Priest.

[/quote]

Well if I see them take it to their seat, what should I do? Just let them take it and do God knows what with it!

I would probably follow them, tap them on their shoulders, and tell them very nicely to consume it. And then I would go back to my station.


#9

[quote="JD27076, post:6, topic:294978"]
Well I'm 15 in high school and discerning the priesthood intently...So I was just making sure they consume it, because the priest is busy dispersing communion rather to make sure they consume it.

[/quote]

An altar servers job is to unite himself spiritually with the priest, keep his eyes on the preist and serve the priest's needs so that the priest can better pray the Mass. To the extent that you do anything, rendering service to the priest needs to be the goal.

Adding dignity and reverence to the Mass is a secondary goal, and you do that by your presence, dress, postures and gestures.

Here is what I do during communion.

After I recieve and pray for a moment, I get a purificator from the creedence table and stand behind the priest, a little to the side, and try not to draw attention to myself. I stand there with a purificator in case any of the Precious Blood spills or in case someone happens to spit up a half chewed host. I mostly watch the chalices in case there is a spill, and also try to keep myself avialable to the priest in case he needs something.

As the line dwindles, I retreat to the creedence table, put the purificator down and get the water and bowl for the priest's fingers and so that he can purifiy the vessels - our priest's purify the vessels at the altar during weekday Masses. By the time the priest gets to the altar with the remaining hosts and the chalices are brought to the altar, I am there with the water, bowl and towel, waiting off to the side - available but out of the way, like a good busboy in a fancy restaurant, ready to serve.

I train both adult and children altar servers. The two primary thing I try to impress upon them is the dignity, reverence and honor of their position and that they are there to serve the priest. Everything they do has to be ordered to adding dignity and reverence to the Mass and service to the priest.

Personally, and you should ask your priest, I think your priest is best served by being available for him. I think a spill from the chalice is more likely than someone walking away with a host. The one time there was a spill, I put the purificator on it and stood/knelt there praying until after the Mass, so that no one stepped on our Lord, until someone could come and clean it properly. But that is my opinion.

Ask your priest how you can best serve him. Your job is to be a servant.

-Tim-


#10

You are a server of the altar - not the congregation.


#11

At my parish church, it's the usher's duty to watch parishoners receive the Body
of Christ.


#12

[quote="JD27076, post:8, topic:294978"]
Well if I see them take it to their seat, what should I do? Just let them take it and do God knows what with it!

I would probably follow them, tap them on their shoulders, and tell them very nicely to consume it. And then I would go back to my station.

[/quote]

I think there is some issue if you are focusing on the actions of others at Mass.

If you notice such a thing then you need to bring it to the attention of your pastor.

You have no authority to do anything.

You are an altar server.

If you feel that you need to add this responsibility to that of serving at the altar then you need to approach your pastor and ask him about this. Not ask for it here at an anonymous internet forum.

Absolutely no one here has the authority to grant you this responsibility you seek.


#13

Just let the Priest serve the host. It's the persons job after he gets the host to do what he wants to do with it. Remember it's his eternal judgement, not yours, so don't worry about it.


#14

Especially given your scrupulosity and anxiety issues expressed in numerous posts here on CAF, you should not be policing parishioners nor concentrating on what they do-- you should look away, and remain in prayer.

This is spiritually harmful to you.


#15

[quote="JD27076, post:1, topic:294978"]
Today I was altar serving and I was vigilant in making sure that everyone who received made sure they consumed it.

Should this be a duty of mine? I didn't go through any 'formal' altar serving training, just learned how to serve, and thats about it. Not any protocol or anything.

And If I did see someone just take it, should I follow them and say, Excuse me, please consume it.
If they do, I will go back.
If they do not, what do I do?
If they do not know how to, do I take it back up to the chalice and place it back?

SO MANY QUESTIONS!

Thank you!

[/quote]

Ask your priest what your duties are and follow his instructions for what you are supposed to do while serving. Often it is the ushers who are asked to handle this responsibility.

Even as a 15 yo you are still a minor, which may cause issues with you confronting an adult. Also, you leaving the altar may cause more of scene than is appropriate during Mass.


#16

What about someone taking the Eucharist home to someone sick? They're supposed to carry a pyx, but what if they forget?


#17

Hi JD and others.

I've experience of this from both sides:

As a an altar server when I was younger (16 or 17 I think, although maybe a little younger) I was serving at a school mass and noticed whilst watching the priest as he distributed communion that one pupil did not consume our Lord but instead returned to his seat with it. This was not, nor do I think it should be, a specific role of an altar server, but I had noticed nonetheless. I spoke to the priest as soon as he had returned from the tabernacle, and he immediately sent me to ask one of the teachers to keep the row that the boy was sat in after mass. After mass the priest went and spoke to the boy involved, who admitted he had taken the host away, but had consumed it when he realised his row was being kept. Suffice to say he was spoken to sternly by the priest and the headteacher (I'm not sure what punishment came from it, not my business). I didn't feel great for dobbing him in, but I imagine I would have felt far worse if I known about it and not told the priest as soon as possible.

More recently, as a teacher, I have been an EMHC at school masses (different school), and one of the things the priest explicitly asks us to do is make sure that pupils consume the host in front of us. There have been 2 occasions in 5 years where I have had to stop a pupil and ensure that they do consume the host.

I would say that to specifically watch for this is not the role of an altar server, and I am not sure it is necessary for normal masses. When it is required, such as at a school mass, it should be performed by someone acting as an usher, who has actual power over the communicants if they behave this badly - i.e. a teacher.

All the best

Martin

P.S. To fnr: the Blessed Sacrament should not be removed from a church unless it is in a suitable container (a pyx for a host), not even by a priest. I imagine if most EMHC's went to the parish priest and said they were due to take communion but did not have a pyx he would provide one for that day.


#18

I was an altar server for six years. This is not your job. Focus on serving the priest and the altar of God.


#19

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