"One loving heart sets another on fire"

– Saint Augustine



What is the ministry of Altar Server?

Simply put, our altar servers assist the priest at Mass. They take part in carrying the cross in procession, assist with the offertory procession, setting and removing things to and from the altar, and serve as role models for participation in the Mass.

Who can be an Altar Server?

Here at St. Augustine’s, altar servers consist of boys and girls from our parish (in the main pupils from our local primary school) who have already made their First Holy Communion. All our servers are trained by Sr. Eileen and the priests.

Besides age, what are the other qualifications for Serving?

We believe we have many of the best altar servers anywhere! But this excellence does require a bit of work on the part of our young people:

  • We require all servers to attend a meetings and practices which are scheduled.
  • The practices not only teaches what needs to be done, but teaches an understanding of what happens at Mass in relation to the servers’ duties.
  • There is also time devoted to learning the proper liturgical names of the sacred items used during the Mass (such as the vessels and cloths, etc.) with the expectation that all servers will be able to minister in a knowledgeable manner.

If you are interested in becoming an altar-server at St. Augustine’s just speak to one of the priests after Mass to make arrangements to join our team.


Bishops’ Conference of Scotland Guidelines

1. What change will I notice most?

At the end of every reading, instead of saying “This is the word of the Lord” (or, for deacons and priests, “This is the Gospel of the Lord”, you will be asked to say simply “The word of the Lord” (priests and deacons: “the Gospel of the Lord”).

2. Why is this happening?
Several reasons:

(a) The Latin is Verbum Domini ─ the word of the Lord. “This is” does not appear there.

(b) It emphasises that the word of the Lord is what is proclaimed by the reader and takes root in the hearts of the people, not what is printed in a book. Saying “This is the word of the Lord” can give the wrong impression.(You have probably seen priests and deacons raising the book as they say “This is the Gospel of the Lord”. If they are going to raise the book, they should really be saying “This is the Book of the Gospel of the Lord”! Of course, they are not supposed to raise the book at all, and in future they will be asked to say simply “The Gospel of the Lord”, once again emphasising that the Gospel is present in the proclamation of the text, not in the printing on the page. The point is that the book is like a tabernacle of the word: it contains the word, but it is not actually the word itself, in same way that a score of Beethoven’s 5th Symphony contains the musical ‘instructions’, but the music itself only comes alive when the piece is played.)

(c) Most other English-speaking countries have already been saying “The word of the Lord” and “the Gospel of the Lord” for many years. We are simply coming into line with them.

3. What else should I do?

An excellent start would be to leave a good silent pause ─ 10 seconds is not too much ─ at the end of the reading before you say “The word of the Lord”.

(a) This makes it clear that the concluding formula is not part of the scriptural text (it isn’t!). Just tacking it onto the end can also sound silly.

(b) It leaves a silence for people to reflect on what they have heard, and this is something the Church is always asking for (cf. GILM 28 (reproduced in GIRM 45), GIRM 56).
(c) It avoids ‘switching people off’ too quickly, ready for the next thing that happens.
(d) It also gives the reader time to make the reading their own.

If you don’t already do this, it will take a while for you to become used to it. And 10 seconds can seem like an eternity to the reader, though it seems much shorter for the listener. A good tip is to re-read the last two or three sentences of the reading silently to yourself before you say “The word of the Lord”.

4. Anything else?

Well, many readers read too quickly (sometimes this is due to nerves) and start before people are ready to listen. It’s always a good idea to take a couple of good, deep, slow breaths at the ambo before launching into the reading. This gives the people time to focus on the reader after they have sat down, and also helps to calm the reader. Don’t be afraid to look around to ensure that you have everyone’s attention before you start. After all, this is the word of God, the most important word that we can ever hear.

As well as adopting a pace that is a little slower than you might think necessary (remember, this is proclamation, not mere reading aloud), make an effort to vary the tone of your voice sufficiently so that the reading is full of interest for the listener. It’s possible to do this without being over-dramatic. (A good reader’s course can help you with this.)

5. Conclusion

If, in the course of time, you manage all the suggestions above, the people’s “Thanks be to God” response will be that much more heartfelt and full of meaning, and the word will have a chance to grow within them!

Useful resources

Our national Liturgy website: http://www.romanmissalscotland.org.uk

or the liturgy website for the Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales




A sample set of Guidelines for Readers:


A Handbook for Readers (a practical and liturgical guide)

Marian Tolley, Decani Books, ISBN 1-900314-01-0

A Workbook for Readers (a basic course for readers) — a supplement to the Handbook

Marian Tolley, Decani Books, ISBN 1-900314-14-2

Guide for Lectors

Virginia Meagher and Paul Turner, LTP, ISBN 978-1-56854-607-0 [available from McCrimmons]

Liturgical Ministry: a practical guide to spirituality

Donna M. Cole, Resource Publications, ISBN 0-89390-372-8

Our Parish Catechists

The ministry of Catechist is a thriving ministry here at St. Augustine’s parish. These men and women have a key role in supporting and instructing:

  • Our young people, primarily through our Chilrden’s Liturgy classes each Sunday.
  • Candidates and Catechumens engaged in weekly RCIA sessions.
  • Our Catechists give silent and daily witness to their faith, at home or in work, by living by and promoting Gospel values in the living-out of their particular vocations.

The origins so this Ministry in the Church
Quite early on, the name catechesis was given to the totality of the Church’s efforts to make disciples, to help men believe that Jesus is the Son of God so that believing they might have life in his name, and to educate and instruct them in this life, thus building up the body of Christ. (Catechism of the Catholic Church, #4)

​“Catechesis is an education in the faith of children, young people, and adults which includes especially the teaching of Christian doctrine imparted, generally speaking, in an organic and systematic way, with a view to initiating the hearers into the fullness of Christian life.” (Catechism of the Catholic Church, #5)

​Lay people who are capable and trained may also collaborate in catechetical formation, in teaching the sacred sciences, and in use of the communications media. (Catechism of the Catholic Church, #906)

All of these tasks are born of the conviction that the quality of any form of pastoral activity is placed at risk if it does not rely on truly competent and trained personnel. The instruments provided for catechesis cannot be truly effective unless well used by trained catechists. Thus the adequate formation of catechists cannot be overlooked. Consequently, diocesan pastoral programs must give absolute priority to the formation of lay catechists. (General Directory for Catechesis, #234)

​formation seeks to enable catechists to transmit the Gospel to those who desire to entrust themselves to Jesus Christ. The purpose of formation, therefore, is to make the catechist capable of communicating: “The summit and center of catechetical formation lies in an aptitude and ability to communicate the Gospel message.” (General Directory for Catechesis, #235)

​An adequate conception of the formation of catechists must always take prior note of some of the criteria which inspire and configure with varying emphasis relevant to the formation of catechists: Firstly, it is a question of forming catechists for the need to evangelize in the present historical context, with its values, challenges and disappointments. To accomplish this task, it is necessary for catechists to have a deep faith, a clear Christian and ecclesial identity; as well as a good social sensitivity. In formation, account must also be taken of the concept of catechesis, proposed by the Church today. It is a question of forming catechists so as to be able to transmit not only a teaching but also an integral Christian formation, by developing “tasks of initiation, of education, and of teaching.” Catechists must be able to be, at one and the same time, teachers, educators and witnesses of the faith. (General Directory for Catechesis, #237)

​“There is a primary need for catechists who know how to work with families, persons or groups with particular needs, such as the disabled, the poor, the marginated, and those in irregular situations.” (Adult Catechesis in the Christian Community, #74)

​“Their training should equip them to make effective use of the resources available for catechesis and to adapt materials to the age, capacity, and culture of those they seek to reach.” (Sharing the Light of Faith, #71)

​If you are interested in enrolling your child into our Children’s Liturgy Goup, or if you would like to fin out more information about joining the Roman Catholic Church through the RCIA please contact one of the priests. This information can be found on the dedicated Contacts page.

​For further resources on the RCIA process please visit the RCIA Network by clicking here.


Bishops’ Conference of Scotland Guidelines

  1. Will I have to change anything I do? Only the same changes to sung and spoken responses and prayers as everyone else, so make sure you know what they are. However, if you take Communion to the sick and housebound and share scripture with those you visit, you would find it useful also to take a look at the Ministry handout for Readers.
  2. Perhaps there are things I should listen out for? Well, there is one acclamation after the consecration in the Eucharistic Prayer that speaks especially to Ministers of Communion. It’s the one that begins “When we eat this bread and drink this Cup…” Instead of ending “until you come in glory”, it will now end “until you come again”.Sometimes it’s very easy to sing or say the present words and not really think about what they mean. What does it mean to proclaim the Lord’s death? And how will eating and drinking Jesus’ body and blood help us to do this more effectively? In our ministry, how can we help to ensure that the act of eating and drinking is an act filled with holiness, and not something that we might start to take for granted? The slight change to the wording is an opportunity for us to renew the meaning that this acclamation should have for us.​And, just before Communion itself, we will now be saying “Lord, I am not worthy that you should enter under my roof, but only say the word and my soul shall be healed.” To anyone who remembers what the first masses in English were like in the 1960s, this will sound very familiar. It recalls the centurion who told Jesus that he was not worthy to have Jesus under the roof of his house. We too can say that we are not worthy for Jesus to enter the “house” that is our body. (Remember St Paul telling us that our bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit ─ 1 Cor 16:19.) And if we meet anyone thinking that this refers to the roof of our mouth, we can explain what the actual scriptural memory is here.

    ​The centurion asked for healing for his daughter; we ask for healing for our souls, the core of who we are as Christians.

What other aspects of my ministry could I look at?

Not through any fault of their own, some people were never offered proper training for this ministry. They were just asked to do it, and started immediately. It’s good to be sure that you are properly prepared for your ministry. One of the most important things is the ‘five-fold movement’ for ministers of the chalice:

(a) Give the chalice to the communicant. While they are drinking from it

(b) Move the purificator along so that you use a different part of it to wipe from the part you used for the previous person.

(c) Take back the chalice from the communicant.

(d) Wipe thoroughly, both inside and outside the rim that the communicant has drunk from.

(e) Turn the chalice a quarter turn, so as to present a new part of the rim to the next communicant.A proportion of Ministers of Communion were never shown how to do some of the ‘movements’ ─ for example, the two different ways of handling the purificator ─ and may not even know that they exist.

​In the same way, some training for Ministers of Communion did not cover the particular requirements of taking Communion to the sick and housebound, so this could be an opportunity for some further formation.

Useful resources

Our national Liturgy Office website:


or http://www.liturgyoffice.org.uk/



A sample set of Guidelines for Ministers of Communion:

http://www.portsmouthdiocese.org.uk/userfiles/Ministers%20of%20Communion%2 0diocesan%20guidelines%2009%20revision.pdf

Ministers of Holy Communion

Donald A. Withey, Decani Books, ISBN 1-900314-01-0

Guide for Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion

Kenneth A. Riley and Paul Turner, LTP. ISBN 978-1-56854-608-7 [available from McCrimmons]

Handbook for Ministers of Care (2nd edition)

Genevieve Glen OSB, Marilyn Kofler SP, Kevin O’Connor, LTP, ISBN 1-56854-102-3 [available from McCrimmons]

Liturgical Ministry: a practical guide to spirituality

Donna M. Cole, Resource Publications, ISBN 0-89390-372-8

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Saint Augustine's Church, 12 Dundyvan Road, Langloan,
Coatbridge, ML5 1DQ

Email: office@saintaugustines.org.uk Tel: 01236 423044