Server Position Descriptions

Primary Torches

Apprentices & Servers

Lead in the procession, lead out the recessional, stand in front of altar during Communion, and wash hands

Secondary Torches

Apprentices & Servers  

(Always Using Primary Torches) Proceed with the Gospel, and proceed with the Offertory

Tertiary Torches


Process and Recessional, and standing in sanctuary during communion 


Bring water cruet to altar before and after Communion, Help with clearing the altar at the preparation of Communion and after Communion is over, and 10 Minutes prior to Mass, light candles

American Flag


Ring bells at Consecration, and 10 Minutes prior to Mass, light candles 

Papal Flag


Help American Flag with duties



Assists the Priest with Roman Missal 




Any Level

Assists the Priest with incense


Sacred Vessels & Appointments



Communion Paten

Communion Paten




Chalice Veil



Serving At Mass

Before Mass                                                                         


The server gets vested in cassock and surplice.  Servers should pick a cassock that is not too long, not too short; the cassock should come to the server’s shoe-top. 

Altar Servers wear black dress shoes when serving on the altar.  There can be found dressed black shoes in the Sacristy to wear in order to observe this requirement. 

Servers are to arrive 30 minutes before their assigned Mass.  They need to wear church clothes.  Hair should be clean and combed.  Girl altar servers should have their hair pulled back away from their face.  Fashion accessories are discouraged while serving on the altar. 

After all set up is complete the servers may put on their Surplices.  The Surplice size should match the Cassock size.


Preparation of the Vessels and Books

Senior servers or acolytes prepare the cruets: one with fresh water, the other with wine. The PATEN or CIBORIUM should be prepared; one large altar-bread should be put on it (this duty is usually performed by the acolyte on duty).  Servers place the cruets, wine flagon, and the Paten or Ciborium on the offertory table at the rear of the church. 

The necessary books should be in their proper places in the sanctuary:  the Lectionary should be on the Ambo, unless the Lector processes in with it; the Sacramentary along with the Presider’s (priest) binder should be on the arm rest between the crucifer and priest chairs.  Hymnals/song sheets should be at each of the servers’ seats.

About ten minutes before Mass begins, the servers light the candles on or near the altar:  two, four or six candles are lighted.  The two candles near the tabernacle where the Blessed Sacrament is reposed are also lit. 

At Mass

When the priest is ready, the Crucifer leads the servers, lectors, acolytes, deacon, and the priest to the altar in procession.  The servers process two by two, with hands folded upward in front of their chests unless they are carrying the processional cross, candles, flags or banners.    The entrance usually begins from the side chapel. 

If the servers pass by the tabernacle on the way to the altar, they stop and genuflect facing the tabernacle.  No genuflection is necessary for servers carrying items.  All servers continue to their designated sitting places.

After the washing of the hands, the servers return the pitcher and water basin to the sacristy, pour any remaining water out; place the towel in the towel bin and return the basin and pitcher to the assigned cabinet. 

After Mass

Clean Up

The servers extinguish the candles.  The hymnals or worship aids used during the Mass need to be removed from the altar server chairs and returned to the sacristy.  The processional cross, flags and banners need to be returned to their proper storage areas.

Altar servers then remove their surplice and cassock (or alb and cincture) and carefully hang them on hangers in the proper place.  Make sure that your vestment (surplice and cassock) is carefully hung and stored in the proper closet.