Altar servers are REALLY important, but too often they don’t know why. That’s why sometimes they show up late or don’t show up at all.
Sometimes they don’t seem to take pride in their job because maybe no one has told them why they’re so important.
So if you help with altar servers, or you have kids who are altar servers, or you think the altar servers in your parish could use some spit and polish why not learn these ten things to tell your altar servers.
Here’s an idea: print out this post and give it to the person who trains your altar servers or make copies for the kids and their parents.
You’d be surprised how the worship changes when the altar servers are top notch.
Here are ten things you should tell your altar servers:
1. You Are Un-necessary – Whoa! That doesn’t sound like a great place to start, but it’s true Father can do all the stuff you do at Mass. What this means is that you are doing something in the liturgy which is MORE than just useful. Read these other nine things to find out what they are.
2. You Are a Silent Witness – As soon as you come to church twenty minutes before Mass starts and you put on your cassock and start to help set up for Mass you are saying by your actions to everyone at church, “Look, it’s important to come early. It’s important to prepare for Mass reverently. It’s important to take time and take care.” Remember, everything you do people are watching. They love to see you serving. So do what you do reverently and carefully.
3. Actions Speak Louder Than Words – You should should look good for Mass. You don’t have to wear dressy clothes because your cassock will cover that, but what people can see should look good. Wear black shoes. Sneakers? Day Glo running shoes? Brown boots? Flip Flops?? Come on. You’re better than that! Nothing about your appearance should draw attention to itself. No dangly earrings please–that means you too boys! Crazy nail polish or an extreme hair do? Wild tattoos and piercings? Uh uh. That draws attention to yourself. Everything you do should focus attention on the altar not the altar server. Girls tie your hair back neatly. Boys comb or brush your hair–and will you please wash that bit of breakfast off your face?
4. Body Language Speaks Loudly – As you set up for Mass move a bit more slowly. In the procession, move at a stately pace. This is because we are live in a very fast paced life and to hear God we have to be silent and to go at God’s pace we have to slow down. God saunters. He takes it easy. He’s in it for the long run. So have good posture and move easily and slowly. Never rush. Believe it or not that helps people to get into the right, reverent frame of mind for worship.
5. The procession is more than just walking into church – The procession is an ancient religious ceremony in itself. As you process into church you are leading everyone into the presence of God. This goes back to the Old Testament when they used to go into procession up the hill to Jerusalem and into the temple of God. The procession is you leading the people of God through the wilderness into the promised land. The procession is the royal triumph of the king going into his city. The procession should therefore be done at a stately pace with solemnity and dignity. Don’t just go galumphing into your place. Take pride in being a servant of the altar of the king! When you carry the cross solemnly at the head of the procession you are saying to all the faithful, “See, we all are called to take up our cross and follow Christ. This is our banner for battle. This is our rallying sign!” So you carry the cross silently and solemnly like a soldier in parade.