The ministry of Altar Server is among the earliest of all liturgical roles. Only the ministries of the priest and deacon have a longer history and a place closer to the altar during the celebration of the Eucharist.
Altar servers have the honor of being one of the liturgical ministers with specific tasks to perform during liturgies. The primary role of altar servers is to assist the priest during Mass. They must also set an example to the congregation by active participation in the liturgy.
Liturgical ministers serve the priest as he presides over the liturgy. They serve the parish family by assisting in the celebration of the liturgy and by being a model for the gathered assembly. They serve God through worship and prayer.
Pope Benedict XVI, in a 2006 address to Altar Servers, said that when they are at the altar, servers are, "in a real way, already apostles of Jesus."
"The bond of friendship with Jesus flows forth from and finds its culmination in the Eucharist," said Pope Benedict. "You stay very close to Jesus in the Eucharist, and this is the greatest sign of his friendship for everyone of us."
Prayer of An Altar Server
O God, You have graciously called me to serve You upon Your altar. Grant me the graces that I need to serve You faithfully and wholeheartedly. Grant too that while serving You, I may follow the example of St. Tarcisius, who died protecting the Eucharist, and walk the same path that led him to Heaven.
St. Tarcisius, pray for me and for all servers.