Some parishioners have asked why the altar servers are no longer on the altar at communion time. In the past, the altar servers would come up to the altar to hold hands with the priest at the time of the Our Father. This practice was stopped some time ago, since the presider is supposed to be holding his hands up towards our Heavenly Father at this time and during all times in which he is leading the prayers of the Mass. Therefore, there is no need for them to be up on the altar at that time. In addition, having the altar servers in the sanctuary during the time when the Eucharistic Ministers come up to help with the distribution of Holy Communion creates unnecessary commotion and prolongs the preparation for the distribution of Communion to the faithful.
On this note, just as the altar servers and the priest no longer hold hands during the Our Father, so the people in the assembly really should not be doing so either. At this time, our focus should be on our connection with Our Father in Heaven. The proper time for connecting with one another is at the sign of peace, which follows soon after the Our Father.
Another common practice that should be eliminated is when people turn to greet the ushers right after receiving Communion. This is not the proper time for greeting each other. The ushers are there to assure that the Communion line moves forward smoothly, and to assist the elderly or handicapped as needed. Stopping to greet them creates undue commotion at this sacred time and distracts them from their role of service. Please reserve your greeting for the proper times: before or after the Liturgy or during the sign of peace.