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Handbook for Altar Servers

by the Archconfraternity of St. Stephen

  Devotional Prayers for Altar Servers

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Blessed be Jesus Who has come to visit me. Hosanna! Hosanna! Hosanna!

O Jesus, I believe that Thou art my God and sovereign Lord: I adore Thee; it is my joy to know and serve Thee. I thank Thee for making a friend of me in spite of my unworthiness.

Lord Jesus, let me feel the sweetness of Thy presence; may I love Thee ardently all this day and for ever. Sweet Jesus, be my secret, my treasure, my Friend, and my strength for today and all my life.

I am forgetful, thoughtless, and weak; sometimes even willful: check me and remind me of Thy Love.

I have often sinned in the past; but I trust Thou hast forgiven me. Oh! If only I had never offended Thee, how happy I would be. Give me Thy sanctifying grace and keep me faithful and sinless for this day and every day.

For all Thy mercies unto me, sweetest Jesus, I praise Thee and honor Thee with all my heart.
For Thy own greatness and power, I bless, praise, and glorify Thee.

O my dear Mother Mary, praise Jesus for me, because I have not fervor enough to bless Him worthily.

May all the peoples of the world worship Thee, O Jesus.

With the Angels and Saints in heaven, we call out to Thee with one voice. Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord God of hosts; heaven and earth are full of Thy glory.

With Thy glorious Apostles and all Thy white-robed Martyrs, we praise Thee.

With St. Stephen and all our Holy Patrons, we worship and bless Thee for ever.

For Thou, O Jesus, art the King of Glory, and One God with the Father and the Holy Ghost.

And yet Thou didst accept to humble Thyself and become man for our salvation.

By Thy cruel Passion and Death, Thou didst open for us the gates of heaven.

There Thou reignest in glory; but still Thou dwellest with us in the Most Blessed Sacrament of the Altar.

We most humbly praise and adore and thank Thee for having redeemed us with Thy Precious Blood and for giving us Thy sacred Body to be the Food of our souls.

Keep us, O Lord, without sin this day.

Have mercy on us, O Jesus, because we place our trust in Thee. Without Thee I am weak and helpless, and can do no good; hold me by the hand and guide me, for I trust in Thee alone, O best of friends and my God.

Sweet Jesus, be with me Jesus. (Three times).

O burning Heart of Jesus, make me love Thee daily more and more.

Sweetest Heart of Jesus, set my heart on fire with love of Thee. And when I leave the church today, may I be cheerful and bright to all I meet, because I bear Thee in my heart.

Jesus pure and strong, Jesus kind and humble, make my heart like unto Thine.


O Christ Jesus, I acknowledge Thee King of the universe; all that was made was created for Thee; exercise all Thy rights over me.

I renew my baptismal promises, renouncing Satan, his works, and his pomps; and I promise to live as a good Christian; especially I pledge myself to do all in my power to secure the triumph of the rights of God and of Thy Church.

Divine Heart of Jesus, I offer Thee my poor actions that all hearts may recognize Thy sacred Kingship, and that thus the reign of Thy Peace may be established throughout the world. Amen. .

Our Father, Hail Mary, and Glory be, for the Pope's intentions.


I offer myself to God Almighty, to Blessed Mary ever Virgin, and to our Holy Patron St. Stephen and I promise to do my best to serve reverently, intelligently, and regularly, having the glory of God and my own eternal salvation as my object.

Let us pray

O Lord Jesus Christ, who didst come not to be administered unto but to minister, and who standing at the right hand of the power of God, didst manifest to St. Stephen the radiant light of Thy wonderful glory; grant to Thy servants, we beseech Thee, that while faithfully serving Thy holy altars, we may with faith like his, worship Thee hidden in Thine adorable sacrament, and in our hearts and minds, do Thou, O Lord, enkindle the love of Thy grace. Who livest and reignest world without end. Amen.


O Lord Jesus Christ, the great High Priest, who dost call chosen souls to offer Thee in sacrifice and to assist Thee in saving souls, I beseech Thee to grant me this high grace though I am most unworthy of it, make me carefully to prepare my heart to receive it and to keep myself pure and lowly that Thou mayest call me to serve Thee at Thine altar. Amen.

O Mary, Mother of God and my dear mother too, obtain for me this grace from the Sacred Heart of thy dear Son.

Never leave the Church without greeting Our Blessed Lady. Go and kneel at her altar, or turn to her statue. 

Remember, O most loving Virgin Mary, that it is a thing unheard of, that anyone ever had recourse to thy protection, implored thy help, or sought thine intercession, and was left forsaken. Filled therefore with confidence in thy goodness, I fly to thee, O Mother, Virgin of Virgins; to thee I come, before thee I stand, a sorrowful sinner. Despise not my words, O Mother of the Word, but graciously hear and grant my prayer. Amen.

Most Sacred Heart of Jeus, have mercy on us.
Immaculate Heart of Mary, pray for us.
St. Joseph, pray for us.
St. Stephen, pray for us.

Members of the Archconfraternity are recommended to invoke the intercession of their holy patron, St. Stephen, by the use of the following prayers in their daily devotions, according to the seasons:

In the Advent Season

Holy Spirit of God, who by the laying on of hands of the Apostles wast given to the blessed deacon Stephen, and in him didst begin the service of the Altar in the New Law, grant that I, who serve the same Altar, may always keep holy the body that is Thy temple, that I who bear the sacred vessels may purify my heart; so that at last, full of Thy grace, I may, looking up into heaven, see Thy great joy, and come to the eternal temple of Almighty God, where the Lamb of God is the Light in Thy radiance. Amen.

In the Christmas Season

O God, Who didst consecrate the first fruits of the ministry of Thine Altar in the blessed death of the deacon St. Stephen, full of grace and of the Holy Ghost, grant, we beseech Thee, that we may so love the beauty of Thy house as ever to partake of the grace of the Altar we serve, and lead us, who here reign in serving Thee, to the glory forseen by him, where we might serve Thy Majesty for ever by reigning with Thee. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

In Lent

Almighty and Everlasting God, Who didst grant to Thy holy deacon St. Stephen that he, whilst still on earth, should see him for whom he was about to die, and dost allow me to look upon the same Lord Jesus Christ hidden beneath the Holy Species while I stand before Thine Altar, grant to me this mercy in Thy house, that I may always faithfully follow Him whom I serve, until I, His servant, come to be where He is, Who lives and reigns with Thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, one God, world without end. Amen.

At Easter

O Lord Jesus Christ, who didst not come to be served but to serve, Who standing at the right hand of the power of God didst show to St. Stephen the radiant light of Thy wonderful glory, grant me that, while I faithfully serve Thy holy Altar, I may adore Thee hidden in the Blessed Sacrament with a faith like his. Enkindle my heart and my mind, O Lord, with the love of Thy grace, that enlightened by Thy glorious presence, I may faithfully serve Thee in Thy holy Church, until at last, seeing Thee face to face, I may be blessed with the sight of Thy glory. Amen.

At Pentecost

Lord God Almighty, Who dost make us sharers in this mystery of salvation, Who dost allow us Thy lowly and unworthy servants to serve at Thy holy Altar, do Thou Who workest all things, give us the grace of Thy Holy Spirit to fulfill this service; that standing without blame in Thy holy presence, we may offer to Thee this sacrifice of praise. Grant, O Lord, that this sacrifice be pleasing and acceptable to Thy sight for the healing of our sins, and of those of all Thy people. Through Christ our Lord. Amen. (From the Liturgy of St. Basil).

NOTES WRITTEN BY SAINT THOMAS MORE on the margin of the Newman Book of Hours, written after his troubles began and he had resigned his position at Court.

Give me Thy grace, Good God,
To see the world as nought;
To set my mind fast upon Thee and not to hang upon the words of men's mouths;
To be content to be solitary;
Not to long for worldly company;
Little by little utterly to cast off the world,
And rid my mind of all besides Thee;
Not to long to hear any worldly things,
But that the hearing of worldly fantasies may be to me displeasing;
Gladly to be thinking of God;
Piteously to call for His help;
To lean unto the comfort of God;
Busily to labour to love Him;
To know my own vileness and wretchedness;
To humble and abase myself under the mighty hand of God;
To bewail my past sins;
For the purging of them patiently to suffer adversity;
Gladly to bear my purgatory here;
To be joyful in tribulations;
To walk in the narrow way that leadeth to life;
To bear the cross with Christ;
To have the last things in remembrance;
To have ever before mine eye my death that is ever at hand;
To make death no stranger to me; to forsee and consider the everlasting fire of hell.
To pray for pardon before the Judge to come.
To have continually in mind the passion Christ suffered for me;
For his benefits incessantly to give Him thanks;
To buy the time again that I have lost;
To abstain from vain conversations;
To eschew light, foolish mirth and gladness;
Recreations not necessary to cut off;
To set the loss of worldly substance, friends, liberty,
life and all as rightly nought for the winning of Christ;
To think my worst enemies my best friends,
For the brethren of Joseph could never have done him
so much good with their love and favor as they did
him with their malice and hatred.
These wishes are more to be desired by every man than
all the treasure of all the princes and kings, Christian
and heathen, were to be gathered and laid together all
upon one heap.

N.B. This edition of The Altar Server’s Handbook, originally published by the Archconfraternity of St. Stephen a century ago, contains in its pages  directives which do not necessarily correspond to the 1962 Missale Romanum or the serving tutorial on the Sancta Missa website. The handbook is intended as a possible aid for parishes or individuals interested in implementing a similar guild.
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