Adult Altar Server

The Ministry of Adult Altar Server has its roots in ancient tradition, when "ministries were established by the Church for the purpose of suitably giving worship to God and for offering service to the people of God according to their needs. By these ministries, the offices to be carried out in the liturgy and the practice of charity, deemed suitable to varying circumstances, were entrusted to the faithful" (Pope Paul VI, Ministeria Quaedam, 15 August 1972).



The adult altar server is a lay minister authorised to serve at the altar, and to assist the priest and deacon in a similar way to the acolyte (General Instruction of the Roman Missal, 100). An adult altar server may carry the cross, the candles, the censor, the thurible, the bread, the wine, and the water. Adult altar servers prepare the altar and sacred vessels and, if commissioned as an Extraordinary Minister of Holy Communion or deputed by the Priest for a particular occasion, may distribute Holy Communion to the faithful.


Ministry Commitment

2 hours per Mass. Usually scheduled by roster weekly, fortnightly or monthly. Ongoing training and formation.


Spiritual Gifts


Requirements for Admission to the Ministry

  • at least 16 years of age
  • completion of introductory training course drawn up by the Diocesan Liturgy Office and approved by the Bishop
  • verification of a current Working With Children Check Clearance
  • approval of Parish Priest
  • a signed Minister Engagement Form
  • a firm will to give faithful service to God and the Christian people.


Ministry Authorisation

In the Diocese of Wollongong, the Parish Priest authorises the ministry of Adult Altar Server for a maximum period of five years, following which the minister may apply for further five year periods of service. The adult altar server must continually maintain a current Working With Children Check Clearance.


An adult altar server who regularly distributes Holy Communion during Mass needs also to be commissioned as an Extraordinary Minister of Holy Communion. Permission to regularly exercise the ministry of Extraordinary Minister of Holy Communion is at the discretion of the Bishop.



Parish Volunteer Ministry Expression of Interest

Working With Children Check (WWCC)


More Information

Guidelines for Acolytes, Altar Servers and Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion (4th Edition, March 2018)



Liturgy Office


Liturgy Handbook