"When you take part in the Liturgy by carrying out your altar service, you offer a witness to all. Your absorption, the devotion that wells up from your heart and is expressed in gestures, in song, in the responses: if you do it correctly and not absent-mindedly, then in a certain way your witness is one that moves people."
-Pope Benedict XVI addressing altar servers on August 2, 2006
WHAT WE DO
Serving at the table of the Lord is an important and wonderful way that people young and old can assist in the Eucharist -- the source and summit of our life as Christians. When done with reverence, respect, and attention, as the Pope suggests, this can be a wonderful service to our faith community and indeed an act of love that draws the server closer to God.
Training sessions will pay special attention to the theology and "why" of what we do while serving at Mass because altar serving is much, much more than being at the right spot at the right time with the right stuff. Parents are welcome to attend, though they may be asked to participate!
HOW TO GET INVOLVED
Altar Serving at Saint Joseph is open to boys and girls beginning at 5th grade who belong to the parish. New servers are trained by a priest and returning servers are required to attend a series of "brush-up" sessions during the year. Experienced servers are encouraged to continue serving as high schoolers, college students (if in town), and beyond.
To be an altar server, a child must:
1) Have received First Communion; 2) Be in grade 5 or above; 3) Demonstrate reverence for Christ's Body and Blood, and for the Mass; 4) Attend Sunday Mass at Saint Joseph Church regularly; 5) Attend all required training sessions and demonstrate proficiency in training material; 6) Consistently fulfill his/her altar serving duties (including being on time).
Please keep in mind that being an altar server is not for everyone. It is not a public statement of your child’s holiness nor a statement of your parenting ability. It is one important way (of many!) of participating in the Mass. Parents are encouraged to pray with their child to discern if God is calling him/her to be an altar server. You may find this prayer helpful:
Loving God, we know that there are many ways to serve You and Your people. We ask for Your Holy Spirit to come upon [name of child] to help him/her/them discern the ministry of altar server. If it be for Your glory, dispose his/her mind and heart to this important ministry and use his/her gifts to help the Saint Joseph community pray the Mass well. We ask this through Christ, our Lord. Amen.