THE ACOLYTE AND ALTAR SERVER
(The Pastoral Companion — A Canon Law Handbook of Catholic Ministry, pp86-87) Franciscan Press, 1995: John M. Huels, O.S.M., J.C.D.
The acolyte is instituted by the local ordinary (i.e. bishop) to serve at the altar and to assist the bishop, priest and deacon. In particular it is for him to prepare the altar and the vessels and, as a special minister of the Eucharist, to give Communion to the faithful (General Instruction Roman Missal, 65). This norm pertains to the stable ministry of acolyte, not to be confused with the temporary ministry of altar server. Like the stable ministry of reader,
the ministry of acolyte is conferred only for seminarians preparing for the priesthood and candidates for the permanent diaconate.
NORMS FOR THE CELEBRATION AND RECEPTION OF COMMUNION
Vatican II, THE HOLY AND LIVING SACRIFICE
(The Liturgy Documents—A Parish Resource, p261) Liturgy Training Publications, Third Edition, 1991
29. In every celebration of the Eucharist there should always be a sufficient number of ministers for the distribution of Communion. Priority is always given to ordinary ministers (bishops, priests, deacons) and auxiliary ministers (instituted acolytes). When there are large numbers of the faithful present and there are insufficient ordinary and auxiliary ministers at hand, special or extraordinary ministers properly appointed beforehand should assist in the distribution of Communion.
GENERAL INSTRUCTION OF THE ROMAN MISSAL
Duties and Ministries in The Mass
(Renewed by Decree of Vatican II, Promulgated by Authority of Pope Paul VI and Revised at the direction of Pope John Paul II) Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops, 2011
100. In the absence of an instituted acolyte [by the local ordinary], there may be deputed lay ministers to serve at the altar and assist the Priest and the Deacon;
these carry the cross, the candles, the thurible, the bread, the wine, and the water, or who are even deputed to distribute Holy Communion as extraordinary ministers.
110. If at Mass with the people only one minister is present, that minister may exercise several different functions.
111. There should be harmony and diligence among all those involved in the effective preparation of each liturgical celebration in accordance with the Missal and other liturgical books, both as regards the rites and as regards the pastoral and musical aspects. This should take place under the direction of the rector [pastor] of the church and after consultation with the faithful in things that directly pertain to them. However, the Priest who presides at the celebration always retains the right of arranging those things that pertain to him.