Altar Serving

St. Catherine's welcomes both boys and girls to assist the priest as an altar server. Once children have received their First Holy Communion, and have a maturity to understand and carry out the duties of a server, they are invited to take on this role in the parish. Ages range from seven and up.

Altar Servers in our parish wear a black cassock and white surplice, carry the cross, the processional candles, hold the book for the priest celebrant when he is not at the altar, carry the incense and censer, present the bread, wine, and water to the priest during the preparation of the gifts or assist him when he receives the gifts from the people, wash the hands of the priest, assist the priest celebrant and deacon as necessary.

You’ve most likely seen them at Mass, up by the altar, helping the priest to keep the Mass running smoothly. Their age ranges from seven upwards and they’re normally wearing robes which look very similar to that of the priests. Here are seven reasons why becoming an altar server might be one of the best things you could choose to do.

All priests, volunteers, or teachers who work with children and teens in any capacity at St. Catherine's are required by the Diocese of Trenton to complete the VIRTUS Training session “Protecting God’s Children,” and be fingerprinted with a background check every four (4) years. They cannot enter a classroom as a primary catechist, or regularly assist in our programs until this process is completed. This includes all volunteers and catechists in our Religious Education Program and our Youth Ministry Program. For more information, please visit

Reasons to encourage your child to become an altar server:

1. You learn why we do everything in the Mass

By serving at the altar, one learns much about the Mass. Serving Mass makes all the symbols of the Mass so much more understandable and interesting. It also allows one to focus more on the parts of the Mass, paying attention and praying more fervently. Further, treasures in heaven are easily stockpiled by sacrificing your Mass time assisting at the altar.

2. You get fully involved in the Mass and get more out of it

We can get more out of Mass through serving at the altar. By serving Mass, you pay more attention to the whole Mass to help you remember where your part fits in. By focusing and understanding what’s going on, the Mass can then lead you into a much deeper relationship with God and you feel the impact of Mass far greater!

3. You make some great friends

Altar serving can lead to making new friends and building new relationships! Each week you serve Mass, you will gain comfort with those by your side. With a great range of ages and experiences, you’ll meet some fantastic people you’d probably not meet elsewhere. As your friendship develops, you’ll end up having many friends who all share your faith and this can lead to some brilliant conversations and great memories. You also develop a deepter relationship with priests, deacons, and other leaders in our parish.

4. You learn valuable life skills

Altar serving can teach valuable skills such as communication, teamwork, perceiving what needs to be done and doing it, punctuality, self-confidence, and more! Serving on the altar is a great place to start building these skills. You’re supported by fellow servers, and appreciated by the parish community.

5. You become more involved in the community

By taking up a responsibility at Mass you start to recognize more people in the church who come every week. This slowly changes your experience of the church community, from a group of random people you stand next to and shake hands with at Mass, to a large and diverse family who you can meet and chat with every time you attend. You begin to feel truly at home in our parish.

6. It helps you discern your vocation better

Whether marriage, consecrated singlehood, religious life or priesthood, altar serving can help you understand which vocation is right for you. Far and away the best reason to be an altar server is that it helps you discern your vocation better. Every vocation (whether marriage, consecrated singlehood, religious life or priesthood) is a gift from the Lord and leads us to a greater and deeper understanding and relationship with God Himself. Altar Serving is a great way to begin to see that beauty more fully in both priesthood and religious life.

7. It gives you a greater appreciation of the priesthood

As a server, even if you are not discerning priesthood, by altar serving you learn so much more about the priest you work with. This is great because it allows you to both fully appreciate his human side while also appreciating much more the sacramental grace he’s received in holy orders!