Altar Servers

OFW Guidelines

Servidores del Altar

Ver Pagina Aqui

Altar Servers are part of a very ancient tradition in the liturgical life of the church.

Within the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, in accord with permission given by the Holy See, both men and women, some younger some older, may function as servers of Word and Sacrament. These Archdiocesan Guidelines are meant to benefit those responsible for implementing the Ministry of Server, providing helpful direction while allowing for appropriate pastoral discretion.

On the pastoral level it is most important that this ministry continue to be encouraged. Pastors should see to it that this ministry reflects the parish and that there is an appropriate balance of male and female servers. Pastors are reminded, especially in the recruitment and training of younger servers, that this ministry has in the past been a source of priestly and religious vocations. It could once more be the starting point for a young man to begin thinking about the priesthood or a young woman to develop an interest and love for the religious life.


The server is a member of the assembly who assists the priest and deacon during the Eucharist and other liturgical ceremonies so that the liturgy can be conducted with grace and reverence. Servers should be active and full participants in the celebration with the understanding that they are first and foremost members of the assembly. The server expresses this by singing, praying and keeping silence along with the rest of the assembly.

Ideally, servers are fully initiated Catholics. Altar servers must have received the Sacraments of Baptism and Eucharist; youths who have not been confirmed may serve. Servers normally receive the Eucharist whenever they participate in the liturgy. The minimum age and scheduling procedures are left to the pastor’s discretion. Recommended minimum age for youth is roughly the fifth grade.

Servers are expected to be appropriately prepared, committed to giving their time and talent to their parish community, and willing to serve God’s people. They should be able to understand the Eucharistic celebration and the other sacred rites.


Servers carry the cross and the processional candles. They hold the book for the priest celebrant when he is not at the altar. They carry the incense and censer and present the bread and wine along with the water to the priest during the preparation of the gifts or assist him when he receives the gifts from the people. Servers assist in the washing of hands by the priest, and assist the priest and deacon as necessary. In the absence of a sacristan, the servers may prepare the altar and sacred vessels before Mass. The number of servers varies according to the nature of the celebration. Since the tasks of the server can vary depending upon local circumstances, it is important that the pastor develop a Ministry Description for Servers so that they will be aware of their role and their responsibilities.

Archdiocesan Guideline for Altar Servers

These guidelines define the contents of the liturgical law on this matter, and the expectations of the universal and local Church.

Download Guidelines

The Office for Worship maintains a regular schedule of training Altar Server Coordinators, but is also available upon request for training.

For further information on either of these programs, please contact the Office for Worship at 213-637-7262.

Liturgical Guidelines

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