Valid Mass? altar servers

Is a Mass without an altar boy/girl/server valid?

My priest says daily Mass without a server and I can’t remember if the rule that at least one server must participate still applies, is traditional or just something I heard.

Very few things make a mass truly invalid.

Lack of proper matter - the bread must be wheat and unleavened without additional flavorings or additions. The wine must be wine made from grapes.

Lack of proper intention - the priest must intend to consecrate the bread and wine into the Real Presence.

Lack of proper form - the form of the consecration must be present. “This is my body” “This is my blood”

I may have some details wrong there, but that captures the essentials of what constitutes a valid mass. Altar servers are not included. In reality, even the congregation is dispensable. Bread, wine, priest, words. That’s all that is needed. Everything else is just icing on the cake.

Chris

While Canon Law strongly recommends there be at least one person with the priest (to make the responses), it also allows for a priest, in cases of necessity, to pray the Mass without anyone else present.

There is no rule that I know of that requires an altar server to assist at Mass. Weekday Masses at my parish don’t have altar servers.

Mass is still valid even if there are no altar servers. Lack of altar servers plays no part on validity.

It’s not a problem. A priest can say Mass even if he’s the only one there (only human physically present, that is–the Communion of Saints and the Angels are present at every Mass).

When I was at mass today, there wasnt an altar server, but instead someone in one of the pews, went up when it was time for the priest to wash his hands and put the water and wine in the chalice… So in some sense he was working as an altar server.

None of our daily masses have servers. In the summer, some of our Sunday masses do not even have servers, with everyone gone to cabins or on vacation.

I haven’t seen that problem in a long time, but in the past I recall the Celebrant asking for someone in the pews to come up and serve. Or someone would come up on their own initiative.

Very few things make a mass truly invalid.

Lack of proper matter - the bread must be wheat and unleavened without additional flavorings or additions. The wine must be wine made from grapes.

Lack of proper intention - the priest must intend to consecrate the bread and wine into the Real Presence.

Lack of proper form - the form of the consecration must be present. “This is my body” “This is my blood”


**There is one more requirement: A validly ordained Priest or Bishop.

All of these are easy to ascertain but lack of intention. If a priest goes to the trouble of vesting and saying the prayers and performing the ceremonial, intention is presumed.**

I guess I just assumed that one. But in this day and age, it’s worth repeating.

Chris

I think an altar server is required, for a Mass with a congregation, without a deacon, and without a concelebrant.

From the 2002 General Instruction of the Roman Missal (GIRM) approved for the USA, which can be accessed from romanrite.com/girm.html in the section “Mass Without a Deacon”:
“139. … An acolyte or other lay minister arranges the corporal, the purificator, the chalice, the pall, and
the Missal upon the altar. …
140. … The offerings of the faithful are received by the priest, assisted by the acolyte or other minister. …
142. After this, as the minister presents the cruets, …
145. After the prayer In spiritu humilitatis (Lord God, we ask you to receive us) or after the
incensation, the priest washes his hands standing at the side of the altar and, as the minister
pours the water, …”.

If there were a deacon or concelebrant they could do these altar server duties instead.

No, not required. It is presumed that there will be at least one. Helpful yes, appropriate yes. We can use a lot of different words here, but “required” is not one of them.

Yes, a mass is perfectly valid even without an altar server.

There were never alter servers at the Masses in College and there are none at the daily Masses here (with seven of us, who needs them?).

Having the assistance of at least one altar boy is very helpful to the priest. We do need them–although it’s possible to have Mass without one, it’s rather difficult.

I’m sorry, FrDavid. I hope I didn’t offend you, or anyone else. I certainly didn’t mean to.

Why ever would you think that???

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.