What do Altar Servers do?
Altar Serving is a St. Robert Bellarmine Altar Server Ministry of service to the priests and the parish community. The role of the altar server is to assist the priest during liturgies. During Mass, they bring the Sacred Vessels to the Altar before the presentation of the gifts. Servers assist with the wine, water and hand washing of the priest before the Consecration, and they return the Sacred Vessels and liturgical items to the credence table after Communion. Experienced youth and adult altar servers are trained to assist during Benediction and at weddings and funerals.
History of Altar Servers
Altar servers began to assist priests at Masses in the 9th century as young men assumed the role of ordained acolytes while considering a religious vocation as a deacon or priest. The office of acolyte was minor order until 1972 when Pope Paul VI reclassified it as a ministry. In 1983, the revised Code of Canon Law allowed in principle women to serve in the Sanctuary, but it wasn’t until 1994 that Pope John Paul II definitely permitted women to serve at the altar.
Who can serve?
Students entering the 3rd grade may serve if a sibling is already an altar server. Students entering 4th grade as well as older students and adults may become altar servers. Training sessions are held 3 to 4 times a year so watch the bulletin. Contact the parish office to sign up for training. If a training schedule is missed individual training is possible. Training is held in the church and vestry. Training sessions provide hands on experience with students regarding appropriate dress, behavior, familiarity with Sacred Vessels and liturgical items used in the Mass as well as a walk through of the duties of servers before, during and after the Mass. Students are encouraged to ask questions.
Parents of Youth Altar Servers
After the Mass accompany your altar servers to the Vestry which is located in the church basement where the Albs are hung. Make sure your child’s:
- Alb is on a hanger rather than the floor.
- The Albs are organized by size so that the next servers don’t have to hurriedly try on and re-hang several to find their size.
- If an Alb your child wears needs cleaning or repair please place it in the basket located on the floor beneath the Albs. We have a volunteer whom as kindly offered to clean the Albs.
Altar Server Resources
Youth Altar Server Schedule – Ed Hallwood
Adult Altar Server Schedule – Bob Vance
Funeral Altar Server Schedule – Don Stahlzer
Altar Server Trainer – Marty Piechowski
Please call the Parish Office at (810) 659-2501 for more information.