Serving at the altar is a privilege and a ministry open to young people and adults, male and female. Servers assist and support the clergy in the celebration of mass and at other services. There are a number of roles to be carried out depending on the venue and type of liturgy:
- Crucifer – Carrying the Cross in procession
- Acolyte – Carrying candles in procession and assisting the priest at the altar
- Thurifer – Being responsible for the incense, often accompanied by a boat boy or girl
- Master of Ceremonies – Directing the servers during ceremonies and assisting the clergy
The only requirement is to have received first communion. Most servers start with simple tasks and are trained to learn other roles. After six months training servers may ask to be admitted to the Guild of St. Stephen, the national organisation of altar servers (see useful links).