The Parramatta Diocesan Policy on Ministry at the Altar, developed by the Parramatta Liturgical Commission and endorsed by Bishop Bede Heather, is an expression of the Vatican II mandate, that “in the restoration and promotion of the sacred liturgy, (the) full and active participation by all the people is the aim to be considered before all else.” (Constitution on Sacred Liturgy 14).

The Policy is as follows:

  1. The ministry of serving at the altar is open to women as well as men. Those performing this ministry are to be commissioned by their pastor and called adult servers.
  2. Those currently instituted as acolytes will continue to serve as such while being mindful that all functions at the altar may be performed by both acolytes and adult servers.
  3. The question of what is appropriate dress is to be decided by each local parish.
  4. The minimum age to qualify as an adult server is 16.
  5. The continuation of junior servers, male and female, is to be encouraged.
  6. The ministries of adult server and special minister of the eucharist are to remain distinct, enabling men and women to minister in either capacity but not necessarily in both.
  7. The matter of a fixed term for either the ministry of adult server or special minister of the eucharist is to be decided by the local parish.
  8. All who serve at the altar and minister communion are to receive initial formation approved by the diocese, followed by training in their own parish and opportunities for ongoing formation.

Diocese of Parramatta, 30th May, 1997.

This policy is fully implemented in Holy Spirit Parish. A white robe is worn by those who serve at the altar.