Students who are called to serve at the altar (both OLV & CCD students) should be open to learning altar server skills and should be willing to serve when scheduled. Students interested in becoming an altar server should apply through fourth grade teachers or through your CCD teacher. The Altar Server "Year" runs from November to the end of October.
Training is available to students in the fourth grade or higher each fall. There are three training sessions for each student, one each on Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday on weeks appearing on the training schedule. Training sessions take place after school in groups of about six students in the Church. Each session concludes at 5 PM. Single day Saturday training sessions are available for students who are unable to attend the after school sessions. These Saturday sessions are primarily for CCD students but are available for OLV students who are unable to participate in the after school sessions. Saturday sessions last about three hours and begin at 8:30 AM in the Church.
Annual Refresher training is required for all trained servers who wish to continue serving at Saturday and Sunday Masses. (When training is occurring, the New Server Training Dates, Refresher Server Training Dates and Permission forms will be posted on this page of the web-site).
There is a limited number of REFRESHER and NEW altar server training sessions. Please plan to attend one that fits your schedule if you want to be trained as an altar server. A parental permission slip is required. They are available from Mrs. Hobbs (fourth grade teacher at OLV), the school and CCD offices. Students attending Saturday training sessions need bring the permission slips only.
Please direct any questions to Deacon Robert Long: 205-991-5488 ext. 217, or email him at [email protected]
Our Lady of the Valley Catholic Church Altar Server Expectations Reverencing the Holy Eucharist
– The Tabernacle is the special place at the center of the sanctuary where the Holy Eucharist (the bread which has been changed into the body of Christ at Mass) is placed. Everyone, including altar servers should reverence the Eucharist by bowing or genuflecting (kneeling on the right knee) whenever passing in front of or approaching the Tabernacle. Reverence while serving at Mass
– The altar server serves the priest and the deacon during Mass. So their attention should be focused the needs and actions of the priest and deacon. They should understand their responsibilities and fulfill them correctly anticipating the next move. Altar servers should fully participate in the Mass by joining in the responses and in the singing. Reverence in the way we dress
– If you were to have a personal audience with the Pope in Rome you would dress in your best clothes with your hair combed and your shoes shined. When we receive Communion at Mass, it is a “personal audience” with Jesus. We should do our best to dress up for the occasion. It is a sign of reverence. Respect for the office of Altar Server
– The altar server plays an important role at Mass. Therefore there are some responsibilities that the Altar Server is expected to follow:
- Arrive on time (15 minutes before Mass begins)
- Check in with the Mass Coordinator (listed on the Ministers Schedule)
- Know when you are scheduled to serve (this information is on the Ministers Schedule, in the e-mails your parents receive and in the bulletin)
- Vest using the correctly sized alb and right liturgical color cincture
- Retrieve the Processional Cross from the altar or light the candles
- Say the Altar Server Prayer before Mass begins
- Be ready to line up when instructed to do so
- Know your duties when serving during Mass
- Refrain from talking or engaging in any distracting or irreverent behavior while in the sanctuary during Mass
- Arrange for a substitute if you are unable to serve when scheduled
- Respect for vestments
- The ALB is the vestment for the altar server. It is the symbol of the office of Altar Server. The priest and deacon also wear an alb since they too are servers at the altar. Respect is shown for the alb by removing it carefully from the hanger and replacing it uniformly and carefully after Mass so as not to damage it. Choosing the correct size and wearing it correctly also demonstrate respect for the alb and the office of Altar Server. Thank you for answering the call to serve. The altar server has an important and privileged role in the liturgy. Let us be reverent and respectful in all aspects of the altar server ministry.