Altar Server Policy

Parish of Crosserlough
Altar Server Policy
September 2019*

Altar Serving is a long-established ministry in Crosserlough Parsih and every altar server has a special role to play in the various services that take place in our three churches – St Mary’s, St Patrick’s and St Joseph’s – during the year. 

Serving at Mass and at other church events can prove to be a positive character-building experience for children. By serving, the child is enabled to:

– understand why each part of the Mass is important
-become actively involved in the Mass and hence get more out of it
– assist the priest and the church sacristan in preparing for Mass – for example, arranging objects on the altar, presenting the vessels, carrying the candles, carrying the cross etc.
– develop existing friendships and create new ones
– learn essential life skills i.e. respect, commitment and responsibility
– expand his/her ability to work alongside others in group situations
– develop positive self-confidence and improve self-esteem
– improve his/her listening skills
– appreciate the value of volunteerism

Primary school children can become altar servers in our parish if they have received First Holy Communion and are pupils in 3rd, 4th, 5th and 6th Classes.

All servers should be courteous towards one another and towards other personnel. They must show respect for the sanctity of the church and its contents. Additionally, every server is expected to:

– walk, stand, sit, kneel, genuflect and bow with reverence
– be attentive
– remain quiet and calm, no talking with peers, no distracting actions or inappropriate gestures
– display alertness and confidence, think ahead and be ready for the next task
– be supportive and assist the priest, sacristan, peers and others when required
– look towards the altar during services, avoid looking backwards
– engage with the Mass Leaflet (if available) for readings and prayers
– participate fully by reciting responses and prayers

Being an altar server requires commitment and dedication from September through to August. Monthly rotas/schedules are distributed to the servers through the schools. The server is expected to make note of his/her dates for serving.

It is important that servers work together as a team to provide support and ‘back-up’ for one another from time to time. ‘Back-up’ may be required when a server is unable to fulfil his/her duty owing to illness, sporting commitments, a holiday or for other reasons. In such an instance, he/she or a parent must make contact with another server and arrange a swap. As a parish community, we are grateful for the efforts of our altar servers. As a token of our appreciation, treats will be presented to the servers during the year.

Training sessions will take place in the three churches during autumn. All servers are required to attend so that they can become confident and competent servers. These sessions provide senior servers with the chance to improve their current skills and new servers with the opportunity to learn the ropes. Senior servers are ideal role models for newly appointed servers. Newly appointed servers should observe and follow the actions of senior servers. Additional training may be required for services that deviate from the norm, such as Confirmation, First Communion, Christmas and Holy Week.

Application forms are distributed through the three primary schools in the parish at the beginning of the academic year.

The parish of Crosserlough recognises its responsibilities with regard to Child Safeguarding Procedures. Our Safeguarding Policy Statement is available for viewing on the parish website.

* Policy updated by the Parish Pastoral Council 13th Oct. 2023