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KOA Requirements

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Requirements


I          General Requirements 
        Altar servers are chosen from among the faithful who display a desire to participate in a more intimate way during the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. It is an extreme privilege to kneel so close to the altar as our loving Savior, Jesus Christ, becomes truly present, body, blood, soul and divinity.
        A server is uniquely joined in the Heavenly Supper of the Lamb and serves in the company of myriads of angles eternally singing “Holy, Holy, Holy, is the Lord God Almighty, who was and is and is to come!”
        In the presence of Our King and in the presence of His Heavenly Hosts it is both wise and necessary for a server to perform all assigned duties with attention, dignity and reverence.
        As Jesus “emptied Himself, taking the form of a servant . . .” servers should set aside their own preferences and attend to every action of the Divine Liturgy as a team, all rehearsing the Divine Celebration in the same manner and style as their companion servers.
        The server, participating as instructed, will enter into a fuller participation in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass while assisting the priests and deacons as the mysteries of the Upper Room and Calvary are represented. All actions of the server are woven from signs and symbols whose meaning is rooted in the works of creation and in human culture, specified by events in the Old Testament and fully revealed in the person and work of Jesus Christ. Therefore, it is imperative that all servers do their assigned tasks in the prescribed form and manner.
 
II        Specific requirements for servers
 
1          Who may serve.
        A server can be any person who has received first confession and Holy Communion. Each bishop and each parish may have additional requirements but basically there are no other universal Church restriction about age or sex. The server leader should discern the reasons a candidate wants to serve and be reasonably certain that the candidate, and not parental pressures, are the main motivation. A reluctant or disinterested server is a distraction during the Mass and will have a negative effect on parish faith.
 
2          Servers basic knowledge of the Mass
        A server candidate is required to know the principal prayers of the Mass: The Gloria, Our Father, Nicene Creed, Lamb of God, Lord, I am not worthy and Holy, Holy, Holy to demonstrate they have sufficient interest in being a server. Not knowing these prayers usually results in a server who just stands in ignorance of what to do during these prayers and becomes a distraction to the parish.
        In addition have servers memorize three passages from scripture to help them appreciate the Sacrificial nature of the Eucharist. These are the ones I use but there are many others which can be used to start a discussion about why we have the Sacrifice of the Mass.
 
        Exodus 12:21-24. Then Moses called all the elders of Israel, and said to them, "Select lambs for yourselves according to your families, and kill the Passover lamb. Take a bunch of hyssop and dip it in the blood which is in the basin, and touch the lintel and the two doorposts with the blood which is in the basin; and none of you shall go out of the door of his house until the morning. For the Lord will pass through to slay the Egyptians; and when he sees the blood on the lintel and on the two doorposts, the Lord will pass over the door, and will not allow the destroyer to enter your houses to slay you. You shall observe this rite as an ordinance for you and for your sons for ever.
        John 6: 51-59 I AM the living bread which came down from heaven; if any one eats of this bread, he will live for ever; and the bread which I shall give for the life of the world is my flesh. The Jews then disputed among themselves, saying, "How can this man give us his flesh to eat? So Jesus said to them, "Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of man and drink his blood, you have no life in you; he who eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day. For my flesh is food indeed, and my blood is drink indeed. He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me, and I in him. As the living Father sent me, and I live because of the Father, so he who eats me will live because of me. This is the bread which came down from heaven, not such as the fathers ate and died; he who eats this bread will live for ever. This he said in the synagogue, as he taught at Capernaum.
        1 Corinthians 11:26-31 For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord's death until he comes. Whoever, therefore, eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of profaning the body and blood of the Lord. Let a man examine himself, and so eat of the bread and drink of the cup. For any one who eats and drinks without discerning the body eats and drinks judgment upon himself. That is why many of you are weak and ill, and some have died. But if we judged ourselves truly, we should not be judged.
 
3          What else should a server know 
        All candidates should know the definitions of the liturgical items and their purposes. See the end of this manual.
        a) All candidates must demonstrate their ability to make use of the “tools of the trade” such as matches, candle lighters, books and candles, processional cross, preparation of credence table, chalice, mass colors, etc.
        b) All server candidates must be able to demonstrate their ability to genuflect (bow in the Eastern Rites), make the sign of the cross proper to their Rite and show an understanding that their genuflecting (bowing) is in reverence for the presence of Jesus Christ and should only be done to Him in the tabernacle not to altars, crosses, pictures or crucifixes. Catholics do not worship (latria) anyone but the ONE TRIUNE GOD, Father Son and Holy Spirit.
        c) The server must know the proper way to make the sign of the cross, kneel, stand and sit during Mass.
 
4          What do servers do
        A server is not a wall decoration they are primarily there to assist the priest and to discern their vocation if they have one. Here is a short list of server duties.
        a) The servers duty is to set up for mass not the priest’s or deacon’s. The server must be willing to get to Church early, usually 15 minutes, to perform the appropriate setup for their parish.
        b) The Server must also stay after Mass to return the Church to its non service condition.
        c) Servers should not handle any consecrated bread or wine unless specifically directed by the priest or deacon in an emergency situation. If the server suspects any consecrated fragments or wine remain on the sacred vessels they must inform the priest or deacon immediately.
        d) Servers must remain in the sanctuary during the entire Mass and are not to leave the sanctuary during Mass for any reason other than Illness or the direction of the priest or deacon. Altar servers are on duty from the time they enter the sanctuary at the start of Mass until the priest exits at the end of Mass. Thirst is not a bodily necessity and is never an excuse for leaving the sanctuary before Mass is over.
        e) Servers have three primary positions when not performing a specific duty. These are standing, sitting and kneeling. In any of these positions they should maintain a straight formal posture.
          In the standing position hands should be held in the praying position as seen in most Christian artwork. Never hold hands in any position which would be more appropriate at a bus stop.
          In the kneeling position hands should be held as in the standing position. You must kneel upright, not slouching or sitting on your heals.
          When sitting the hands should be held on the lap or at the sides. Never slouch. Never play with your cinctures, pick your nose or otherwise cause a public reason to take notice of you. You are not on stage; your are serving at the altar of Our God.
        Remember holding hands in the prayer position was a medieval sign of submission to a manner lord and its very appropriate to signify submission to our Divine Lord. Old servers like myself can, due to arthritis, clasp hands to avoid pain. Remember, you are seen by all the parishioners and how you conduct yourself is important to their understanding of the eternal Lamb’s Supper and His Sacrificial Act being represented for us in time.
        f) Every altar server must attend every Mass they are scheduled for. When a server cannot be present, that server must arrange for a replacement.
 
5          Proper Dress
        At home the server should dress in the proper clothes and footwear for Mass. If albs are your liturgical uniform remember what you wear underneath an alb will show through. For this reason, the server should be sure to avoid bold stripes and designs of any kind which may show thru their alb. It is recommended that you wear solid colors, but white would be the most appropriate choice of shirts and blouses. Likewise pants, dresses and skirts should also be of some solid color.
        Dress shoes should be worn. Sneakers, no matter how expensive, are for casual dress and sporting events and have no place at the Altar of Our God. Servers must show respect for the Mass they attend at. Here in the U.S.A., old and tattered footwear is not appropriate in most instances for the altar server while on duty.
 
6          Genuflecting and Bowing
        In the Roman Rite, genuflecting to the tabernacle is required and bowing is not an option to genuflecting in the Latin Rite. Latin Rite Catholics genuflect to Our Lord alone. In all Catholic churches and Rites once the consecration of the bread and wine take place the actual substance, that which makes Jesus the God-Man Jesus is transposed with the substance which had made the bread and wine bread and wine. While the appearance of the bread and wine remain it is actually the true Body and Blood of the Risen Lord, Jesus. While His presence is within the Scriptures and whenever two or more are gathered in His Name, that presence is subordinate to the actual and real presence in the consecrated Eucharist. Catholics never genuflect to the bible or to a group of people meeting in the Name of Jesus be we do to the Person Jesus present in the Eucharist.
All Catholics should be aware of whenever He is present on the altar (after the Consecration or during Eucharistic Adoration) or is reserved in the tabernacle. Everyone, servers included, should genuflect whenever crossing in front of the tabernacle, or entering the Church (usually as they enter a pew). The Eastern Rites of the Catholic Church requires a profound bow but that is not applicable than the Roman Rite. Consult with your training leader for more information.
In the Roman Rite, bowing is done for a priest, the altar or the cross. Catholics never genuflect to the priest, altar or cross. When the tabernacle is not centrally aligned to the altar, one should bow to the altar when passing in front of it. If entering the sanctuary in procession and all genuflect be sure you realize what you are doing. You are genuflecting to the Real Presence of Jesus in the tabernacle not the altar you may be facing. I have noticed many people are starting to genuflecting to the altar or crucifix when the tabernacle is removed to a side altar - this is not appropriate and should never be done. Catholics as well as all other Christians should only kneel or genuflect to God. When He is reserved in the tabernacle He is just as present as when present on the Altar in the monstrance. The church sanctuary light will indicate when Jesus is reserved in the tabernacle. When it is not lit, the tabernacle is empty as on Good Friday and Holy Saturday.
        When should a server genuflect? Whenever entering a Catholic Church (usually when entering a pew) or crosses in front of the tabernacle. “O come, let us worship and bow down, let us kneel before the Lord our Maker!” and “At the name of Jesus, every knee shall bend.
        Servers should remember that there is an exception to this. Whenever they are carrying things like crosses, sacred vessels, books or candles do not genuflect.
        There are two prescribed methods of genuflection.
                  When the tabernacle is closed and Jesus is not present on the Altar after the consecration or exposed for Eucharistic Adoration, genuflect in this manner: stop, then turn and face the tabernacle. Genuflect on the right knee so the right knee touches the floor. Pause with the knee on the floor and bow your head to Jesus. Rise from the floor, still facing the tabernacle. Turn and continue in the direction you were heading.
                  When the Body of Jesus is present on the Altar or Jesus is exposed in the monstrance during Eucharistic Adoration and a server (or anyone is entering or leaving the church) double genuflect in this manner: stop and face Jesus. Double genuflect with both knees touching the floor, the right knee first. Pause with knees on the floor and bow your head to Jesus. Rise from the floor, still facing the tabernacle. Turn and continue in the direction you were heading.
Every action of the server has an effect on the parishioners’ faith. What would someone think if they saw an altar server genuflecting to a cross or statue? Would they think us wood worshiper? Or would we just be written off as idiots?

 

Liturgy

Basic Liturgy

Liturgical Colors

White is used for
           -in Masses for Easter and Christmas Seasons
           -on feasts and memorials of Jesus other than the Passion
           - on feast and memorial of Mary, the Angels, Saints who are not martyrs
           - All Saint's Day
           - John the Baptist (June 24)
           - John the Apostle (December 27)
           - Chair of Peter (February 22)
           - Conversion of Paul (January 25)
           - on festive celebrations like marriage and baptism
           - Masses of the Dead
      *it is a sign of Joy
 
Red is used on
           - Passion Sunday
           - Good Friday
           - Pentecost
           - Mass of the Holy Spirit
           - Birthday, Feast of the Apostles and Evangelist
           - Feasts of Martyrs
      *is a sign of the Blood of Christ, martyrdom and of the Holy Spirit
 
Green is used on
          - in Ordinary Time on weekdays and Sundays
       *is a sign of growth and hope
 
Violet is used on
           - in the Seasons of Advent and Lent
           - in Masses for the Dead
        *is a sign of penance
 
Gold is used
          - as a substitute for other colors, especially on special feasts and significant occasions
 
Blue is used
          - on important feast of Mary

 

 

Parts of the Church Year

a. ADVENT Season: 4 weeks
 
b. CHRISTMAS Season
            1. Birth of Jesus
            2. Holy Family
            3. Epiphany (3 Kings)
            4. Baptism of Jesus
 
c. LENTEN Season: 6 weeks
            1. Ash Wednesday
            2. Palm Sunday: Beginning of the Holy Week
            3. Holy Thursday
            4. Good Friday
 
d. EASTER Season
            -50 days from Easter Sunday to Pentecost
 
e. ORDINARY Time
            - 33/34 weeks of which there is no particular aspect of the mystery of Christ
               being celebrated

 


Parts of the Mass

a. INTRODUCTORY RITES           - Preface
       - Entrance Song           - Holy, Holy, Holy or Sanctus
       - Greeting of the Priest           - Eucharistic Prayer
       - Penitential Rite                  > Consecration
       - Gloria                  > Memorial Acclamation
       - Opening Prayer                  > Great Amen
   
b. LITURGY OF THE WORD d. COMMUNION RTE
       - First Reading          - Lord's Prayer or Our Father
       - Responsorial Psalm          - Prayer for Peace
       - Second Reading          - Lamb of God
       - Alleluia or Gospel Acclamation          - Communion
       - Gospel          - Prayer after Communion
       - Homily  
       - Profession of Faith d. CONCLUDING RITE
       - General Intercession          - Brief Announcement
           - Blessing
c. LITURGY OF THE EUCHARIST          - Dismissal
       - Preparation of gifts  
       - Prayer over the gifts  

 

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Altar Server's Dictionary

 

Acolytes' Candles - These two candles are carried either side of the cross in the entrance procession. They are then used to flank the Gospel when it is proclaimed.
Alb - A long linen tunic, worn since the four century. The name comes from the Latin word, 'albus', meaning white.
Altar - The structure on which the Eucharist takes place.
Altar Missal - See sacrementary.
Ambo - See lectern
Amice - An oblong, white cloth with two tapes which the priest sometimes wears around his shoulders, underneath the alb.
 

Bell - May be used to signify the most solemn moments of the Mass, such as the consecration, and to invite people to communion.
Boat - The container inside which the incense is kept.
Book of Gospels - Contains all the Gospel readings for the Church's year. It is brought to the lectern during the Gospel acclamation. It may be carried into church as part of the entrance procession or put in a special place before the celebration begins.
 

Candlestick - The holder into which is placed the lighted candles.
Cassock -  Full length gown with sleeves worn by servers and priests.
Chalice -  The cup that contains the precious Blood of Christ.
Chapel of Reconciliation/Confessional Box - Here we meet with the priest to confess our sins and, through the Sacrament of Reconciliation or Penance, receive God's forgiveness in the prayer of absolution.
Chasuable - The word literally means 'little house'. Worn at Mass, it covers all the other vestments and its colour changes according to the season of the Church's year. This was originally a coat; it now symbolises the garment of Christ who is the true celebrant of every Eucharist.
Ciborium - A container that holds the body of Christ.
Cincture - A rope belt that is tied around the waist.
Cope - A large, full length cape, held by a clasp at the front, worn for Benediction of the Blessed Sacrement and on other solemn occasions.
Corporal - Its name comes from the Latin word 'corpus' meaning a 'body'. It is a square of white cloth, on which the chalice and paten are placed during the Mass, to catch particles of the Blessed Sacrament, should any fall from the vessels. The corporal is placed on the altar either before Mass begins or during the preparation of the gifts.
Credence table - The little wooden side table on which all the things that are necessary for the Mass are placed.
Crozier - Carried by a Bishop. Looks like a shepherd's crook and reminds us that the Bishop is chief shepherd of the flock of Christ in any given area.
Crucifix - A cross on which is the figure of Jesus.
Cruet - Small jug that contains water or wine for the Mass.
Custodia -  Used to contain the Host for safe keeping.
 

Delmatic - A sleeved top garment worn by a deacon.
 

Font - This is a pool or vessel of water in which people are baptised. It reminds us of our baptism, when we were washed clean of sin and became a member of God's family.
Flagon - Large container that holds the water and wine that is carried in the offertory procession.
 

Gospel Book - A large decorated book containing only Gospel readings for the Mass. The deacon usually carries it.
 

Host - The consecrated Body of Christ.
Hummeral veil -  A long rectangular garment, held by a clasp at the front, worn by a priest or deacon when carrying a Ciborium or Monstrance containing the Blessed Sacrament.
 

Incense - A substance that gives off clouds of sweet smelling smoke when sprinkled onto burning charcoal.
Incense Boat - So called because it is usually shaped like a boat, it contains the incense, which will be burned in the thurible.
 

Lavabo Bowl and Towel - At the preparation of the gifts the priest washes his hands to signify the cleansing of the sins of those gathered and to prepare himself for what he is about to do.
Lectern - The desk from which the readers, deacon and priest proclaim the readings.
Lectionary - A book containing all the scripture readings for Mass. It is placed on the lectern before Mass begins, or it may be carried in the entrance procession.
Lunette - A crescent-shaped clip made of gold or of silver-gilt, which is used for holding the Host in an upright position when, exposed in the monstrance.
 

Mitre - A tall pointed hat in two pieces as worn by a Bishop. It reminds us of the tongues of fire that seemed to light upon the apostles on the first day of Pentecost.
Monstrance - A metal container on a stand. It is used at expositions and benedictions of the blessed Sacrament. It may be plain or very elaborate, but it always has a little glass window through which you can see the host.
 

Pascal Candle - This speaks of our Lord's resurrection from the dead. During the Easter season this paschal candle has its place in the sanctuary. Thereafter it is placed next to the font for use during baptisms.
Paten - A plate from which the communion is served.
Presidential chair - The chair on which the presider sits.
Processional Cross - This is carried into church at the head of a procession, as a sign of our faith, and is the basic symbol of Christianity. It reminds us that Jesus died for us.
Purificator - A cloth that is used to wipe the chalice each time it is used.
Pyx: A small metal container, used to take Holy Communion to the sick and housebound.
 

Sacramentary - A book which the priest uses at his chair and at the altar. It can also be called the Missal.
Sacristy - The room where the clergy and servers prepare themselves for the service.
Sanctuary - Sacred part of the church where the Altar, Lectern and presidential chair are.
Sanctuary Lamp - The lamp that is kept burning on the sanctuary to show that the blessed sacrament is present.
Stations of the Cross - These depict, usually in fourteen stages, the journey of Jesus to Calvary, his crucifixion on the cross and his laying in the tomb.
Stole -   This important vestment, worn around the neck, shows that the priest is celebrating one of the Sacraments. It also shows that the priest has the duty to preach the Word of God.
 

Tabernacle - The cupboard where we keep the consecrated bread.
Thurible - The container inside which charcoal is burned, it is suspended from chains and is also swung during parts of the service. This contains the burning charcoal on to which grains of incense are placed. Incense has been used since early times to honour people and things. For this reason during our worship we incense the people and priest, the altar, the Book of Gospels and the Blessed Sacrament.

Votive candles - These are burned at shrines and in front of statues to represent the prayers and petitions of those who have prayed there.

 

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