The Thurifer is the Altar Server who carries the thurible for incensings. Incense has always been used during religious ceremonies, to give them solemnity and sacredness. Its use is nonetheless optional, and occurs at different times of the Mass, usually at the beginning, on the entrance of the priest and his assistants, when the Gospel is being preached or before the consecration. Other occasions, like processions, burials and blessings, allow the use of incense. On these occasions in particular, the role of the Thurifers becomes extremely important.
Often the Thurifer is accompanied by a Navicularius, the Altar Server assigned to the incense boat. During processions, the Navicularius walks alongside the Thurifer. The duty of the Navicularius is to hand the priest the incense boat, so he can draw the grains of incense, pour them into the thurible and bless them.
The Crocifero or Cruciferi is/are the Altar Server charged with carrying a processional cross, or a cross mounted on top of a long pole, which usually leads religious processions. Once they arrive at the altar, the Crocifero lays the cross next to him and sits down. He takes it up again at the end of the ceremony, to accompany the priest to kiss the altar and during the final procession.
Another Altar Server who can’t be missed out, particularly during the most important processions and celebrations, is the Ceroferario or rather, the Ceroferari, because they usually move in pairs. These are the candle holders who bear the candles. During the procession, their position is behind the Thurifer and at the sides of the Crociferi. They carry the candlesticks with the candles in their hands, and, having reached the end of the procession, place them on the sides of the altar. Subsequently, the Ceroferari must accompany the priest during the proclamation of the Gospel, always standing on both sides.
Particular Altar Servers, called Ceremonieri, have the task of bringing the sacred items needed to celebrate the Eucharistic from the sacristy to the altar, and vice versa, starting with the chalice, with the corporale (the square cloth used to cover the chalice which is then laid down on the altar during the offertory), and the purificator (the small cloth used by the priest to dry his lips after drinking and cleaning the chalice and paten), and then brings the paten (the plate containing the host) and the ampoules of wine and water. They are also tasked to prepare the water and purificator with which the celebrant washes his hands.
In the mass ceremony, there are a few Altar Servers whose task is to play the altar bell, mainly at the time the bread and wine is consecrated, or during processions to announce the blessing is imminent. The purpose is to draw the attention of the faithful during the most salient moments of the ceremony.