The Ministry of Altar Servers, sometimes called Acolytes, is among the earliest of all liturgical roles, second only to the ministries of priests and deacons in terms of history and closeness to the altar.
In the early Church, altar servers were usually adult men who were preparing to become deacons and priests. Until the Second Vatican Council, only boys could be servers, because only men could be priests. Today, it is still true that only men can be priests, but now servers do not need to be studying for the priesthood. So, in 1994, the rule was changed to allow girls to assist the priest at Mass and do all the tasks that altar boys have always done.
To be an altar server is both an honor and a privilege. Pope John Paul II once said to altar servers: “Your commitment to the altar is not only a duty, but a great honor, a genuine holy service… The altar server occupies a privileged place in the liturgical celebration… Therefore, in the liturgy, you are much more than simple ‘helpers of the parish priest.’ Above all, you are servers of Jesus Christ, of the eternal High Priest. Thus, you, altar servers, are called in particular to be young friends of Jesus” (General Audience, August 1, 2001).
Altar servers assist in the celebration of the sacred liturgy through the sharing of their talents and contribute to the spirit of prayer through the reverent way they perform their tasks. At the Basilica of Regina Pacis, altar servers serve the people of God in a variety of liturgical celebrations, including: weekend Masses, holy days of obligation, weddings, funerals, Holy Hours, Stations of the Cross, prayer services, penance services, and parish mission services. They participate in different activities within the parish community as well.
Catholic children who have received First Communion are welcome to participate in the Ministry of Altar Servers. Beginning altar servers are trained by the Altar Server Coordinator (Father Nicholas), supervised at Sunday Masses for at least three months, and commissioned at a special ceremony. During the school year, all altar servers receive additional training to prepare for holy days and special liturgies.
If you would like more information on the Ministry of Altar Servers at our parish or to register your child/children, please contact Father Nicholas or call the parish office during business hours at 718-236-0909.