Guidance for Serving at the Altar

The Guild of St Stephen provides the following recommendations to be fully prepared to serve at Mass:

  • Be ready to serve at every opportunity, yet making sure that your fellow servers have an equal chance.
  • Take part in all services as fully as possible, by paying careful attention to everything that is being said or done and by joining in the prayers, responses and hymns -and especially by receiving Holy Communion at Mass.
  • When sitting in choir and not actually serving, to follow Mass in your Missal, Mass Card or Guild Handbook. Avoid doing anything, which might distract the attention of the people. Do not fidget or look around, or stare at the people in the church.
  • Carry out the ceremonies calmly and without drawing too much attention to yourself and remembering that you are part of a team.
  • Be in good time before services so that you can prepare properly.
  • See that you are suitably dressed for serving (especially footwear) and that your alb or cassock and cotta is clean and cared for. Wear the Guild medal on all occasions when serving.
  • Increase your knowledge of the Mass and of serving with suitable reading that may be advised by your parish priest or senior servers.
  • Do your best to attend Guild meetings and festivals so as to get to know other servers, especially those from other parishes.

Web links and Downloads

The Guild of St Stephen or the Diocese of Nottingham are not responsible for the content of external web links

Enrolment and medal presentation prayers

Prayers for an enrolment into the Guild of St Stephen, which can take place during Mass. (click to download pdf)

Prayers for a presentation of a silver or gold medal of the Guild of St Stephen, which can take place during Mass. (click to download pdf)

Alternative prayer of blessing of the medals as printed in the Altar Server’s Handbook of the Archconfraternity of St Stephen 1976.

Let us pray: Lord God, whom angels ever serve, you alone can bestow favours and grant blessings. We humbly ask you to bless + these medals; grant that your servers, who wish to wear them as a token of their devour service at your altar may faithfully and reverently fulfil their duties to you, and so deserve at length to stand with joy at your heavenly altar and become sharers in your glory. We ask this through Christ Our Lord. Amen.

Sancta Missa

Sancta Missa is an online handbook for Altar Servers interested in the Tridentine Mass according to the Rubrics of the Missale Romanum 1962.

A Teacher’s Guide to Altar Servers

Produced by the Archdiocese of Westminster, this pdf explains the role of Altar Server and a list of jobs and name list. This resource may be of use to Master of Ceremonies and to school chaplains.

Altar Servers and their Ministry

A short leaflet prepared by the Liturgy Office explaining the role of Altar Server.

Westminster Altar Servers

Westminster Altar Servers A twice yearly publication by the Diocesan Liturgy Commission  for Altar Servers.

Brentwood Guild of St Stephen

Website of the Guild of St Stephen in the Brentwood Diocese

Please note, the Diocese of Nottingham Guild of St Stephen is not responsible for the content of external links; inclusion of a link should not necessarily mean the Diocese of Nottingham Guild of St Stephen endorse any views or opinions expressed or made on the external website or the site’s owners.


Archconfraternity of St Stephen. (n.d.). The Altar Server’s Handbook of The Archconfraternity of St. Stephen .

Bertram, F. J. (2007). A Simple Glossary of Catholic Terms. London: Catholic Truth Society.

Britt, D. M. (2008). How To Serve – In Simple, Solemn and Pontifical Functions. TAN Books and Publishers.

McMahon, T. (1976). Altar Servers Missal . McCrimmon Publishing .

Obrien, R. W. (1962). How to Serve Low Mass and Benediction. Kansas City: Angelus Press.

Stephen, E. M. (2001). St Stephen’s Handbook for Altar Servers. Leomin


Prayers can be found on this page here