Help from readers? Prayers for altar boys.

A reader sent this:

We are starting an altar boy bootcamp this September for the EF, and we need prayers before and after serving. Can you send us some, or point us in a direction where we could find some? The prayers should be in Latin!

Okay, there is a request for Latin there, but I think we could include English as well.  Common sense, right?

I know that there are prayers to St. John Berchman’s for altar boys.   Also, the Archconfraternity of St. Stephen would have booklets with prayers.

Can you readers help this fellow?  It sounds like a good cause.  Putting together some texts here could be useful to many parishes.

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  1. revs96 says:

    A good place to start would be some vesting prayers:

    Dominus, pars hereditatis meae et calicis mei, tu es qui restitues hereditatem meam.
    O Lord, the portion of my inheritance and my chalice, You are He who will restore my inheritance.

    Indue me, Domine, novum hominem, qui secundum Deum creatus est in iustitia et sanctitate veritatis.
    Invest me, O Lord, as a new man, who was created by God in justice and the holiness of truth.

    The other prayers I use when I serve the TLM are Ps 115 (Credidi propter quod) before Mass and the Adoro Te Devote after Mass.

  2. Cincinnati Priest says:

    I highly recommend Fr. Eduard Perrone’s “Serve the Lord with Gladness: A collection of prayers for altar boys and others.” It is a pocket sized reference for altar boys (even comes hard bound, so will last a little while longer in a boy’s pocket). I am not sure it is still in print, but quite possibly is. Publisher: Grotto Press (of the wonderful Assumption Grotto parish of Detroit, Mich.); 877-247-6886

    It has many general Latin and English prayers for Mass preparation / thanksgiving as well as throughout the day.

    It includes these popular prayers for Mass preparation (sorry, don’t have it in Latin)

    Open my mouth O Lord to bless Thy holy name.
    Cleanse my heart from all evil and distracting thoughts.
    Enlighten my understanding, inflame my will,
    that I may serve worthily at thy holy altar. Amen.

    O Mary, mother of Christ the High Priest, obtain for me the grace of knowing my vocation in life.
    Grant me a true spirit of faith and humble obedience so that I may ever behold the priest as a representative of God, and willingly follow him in the Way, the Truth, the Life of Christ. Amen.

    St. John Berchmans, patron of altar boys. Pray for us.
    [Page 10]

    My only complaint is that it has very few prayers explicitly for Mass preparation for servers. At a quick glance, this is the only one directly oriented to servers (several great general-purpose prayers of preparation from the saints and Fathers).

  3. anna 6 says:

    Pope Benedict gave a beautiful address to altar servers in a General Audience several years ago.
    Here is a bit:
    “The Eucharist is the source and summit of the bond of friendship with Jesus. You are very close to Jesus in the Eucharist, and this is the most important sign of his friendship for each one of us. Do not forget it.
    This is why I am asking you not to take this gift for granted so that it does not become a sort of habit, knowing how it works and doing it automatically; rather, discover every day anew that something important happens, that the living God is among us and that you can be close to him and help him so that his mystery is celebrated and reaches people.”

  4. bmccoy says:

    We have altar boy prayers for before and after mass in our sacristy; presumably from before VII. I’ll find out their exact text at Mass this evening.

  5. Pachomius says:

    When I was an altar boy, we used the following prayer before Mass:

    “Come, Holy Ghost, fill the hearts of Your faithful, and enkindle in them the fire of Your love. Send forth your spirit and they shall be created, and you shall reknew the face of the Earth.

    O God, to whom every heart is open, every desire known, and from whom no secrets are hidden, purify the thoughts of our hearts by the inspiration of your Holy Spirit, that we may perfectly love you and worthily bless your holy name.”

    I don’t know if that’s helpful or not.

  6. Jerry says:

    The servers in our parish say the following prayer from St. Thomas Aquinas after Mass:

    I give thanks to Thee, holy Lord, Father almighty, eternal God, Who hast deigned, through no merit of mine, but through Thy mercy alone, to satisfy me, a sinner, Thine unworthy servant, with the precious Body and Blood of Thy Son, Our Lord, Jesus Christ.

    I pray that this Holy Communion may not be to me a cause of punishment, but a saving surety for forgiveness. May it be to me the armor of faith and the shield of good will. May it be the emptying of my vices and the extermination of covetousness and passion; an increase of charity and patience, of humility and obedience, and of all the virtues.

    May it be a firm defense against the snares of all enemies, visible and invisible; a perfect quieting of my emotions, both fleshly and spiritual; a firm adherence to Thee, the one true God; and a happy completion of the end of my life.

    I pray Thee, that Thou wouldst deign to lead me, a sinner, to that ineffable banquet, where Thou, together with Thy Son and the Holy Ghost, art to Thy saints true and unfailing light, fullness of contentment, everlasting joy, complete gladness, and perfect happiness.

    Through the same Christ our Lord. Amen

    I have a document with the prayer arranged 4-up on a single sheet of paper that can be cut into small prayer cards:

  7. Rob Cartusciello says:

    My preferred prayer at Communion:

    Anima Christi, sanctifica me.
    Corpus Christi, salva me.
    Sanguis Christi, inebria me.
    Aqua lateris Christi, lava me.
    Passio Christi, conforta me.
    O bone Jesu, exaudi me.
    Intra tua vulnera absconde me.
    Ne permittas me separari a te.
    Ab hoste maligno defende me.
    In hora mortis meae voca me.
    Et iube me venire ad te,
    Ut cum Sanctis tuis laudem te.
    In saecula saeculorum.

  8. bmccoy says:

    Before Mass: I will go to the Altar of my God, to adore Him and to praise Him, for He has given me everything that I have. May my service at Your Throne, O Christ my King, prove to You that I love You.

    Thanksgiving After Mass: O my God, I thank You for the wonderful privilege of being allowed to serve You. May my service ever be loyal, may my love ever be strong. May my sacrifice ever be pleasing to You hand helpful for the salvation of my soul. Bless me before I go away. Bless my home and my actions. Amen.

    I hope this is satisfactory. It’s not in Latin, but I think that they’re beautiful.

  9. Luce says:

    This might help. I’m sure Br. Peter would be happy to share his experience.
    You can probably contact him through St Alberts Priory in Oakland, CA, or the Holy Family Cathedral in Anchorage.

  10. Charivari Rob says:

    I believe there’s something similar to the vesting prayers mentioned by Revs96 – prayer cards that can be ordered from the website of St. John Cantius.

    There’s another, related possibility. I don’t have it accessible right now, but perhaps some other reader has something similar. When I started out as an altar boy in the early 80s, my father dug out an old keepsake – an 8.5 x 11 card in a simple frame, with altar imagery and a few stanzas of some prayer for altar boys. It had been filled out with his name and signed & dated by the pastor of his childhood parish in the 30s (perhaps a “graduation” certificate from training) – he dusted it off, added my name, and had our pastor sign it. It still hangs in “my” room in my folks’ house.

    Such a thing can serve as a reminder of how one has taken his place in a grand tradition.

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