In The Roman Catholic Church, What Are Altar Servers And What Do They Do?


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Altar servers assist the priest in his celebration of the Holy Mass. They are commonly of a young age, but there are many altar servers of all different ages. The ministry is a voluntary position and is conducted at parish, chaplaincy or cathedral level. Following a decision in the 1990s, the Catholic Church now allows female altar servers as well as males.

Servers process into the church with the celebrants of the Mass. They often hold processional crosses, candles and books containing the gospels. At a High Mass, one server may be given the job of "thurafare". He or she swings the thruable, which contains charcoal and burning incense. During the Mass, altar servers carry out duties such as setting the altar for the liturgy of the Eucharist, bringing up water and wine for the priest to transform into the Body and Blood of Christ, washing the chief celebrant's hands and assistance with other such rituals. Altar serving is regarded as a good way to get young people more interested and involved in their religion and their parish. They wear a long vestment's called either albs or cassocks.

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