Altar servers are blessed to have a view of the Mass that many of us never experience. While serving in a lay capacity, they have the gift of an up-close perspective during the most profound moments of the Mass. If you are an adult who has never served, you may think you have missed your opportunity, but this is not the case. Adults are welcome to be trained as altar servers, as well.
Adults can serve alone, with others, or as a team with their children. All that is needed is a willingness to serve and learn a few simple processes. Fr. Godfrey Mullen would be grateful to see more adults step forward as altar servers.
“In the early 20th century, some wise priests taught that ‘passive spectators’ are not what is needed at Mass, but active participants,” Fr. Godfrey says. “Generally, active participation would include paying attention, singing and responding to the prayers, and having ourselves involved with what is going on at Mass.”
We are all called to be actively engaged and prayerful throughout Mass, worshipping as a community and opening our hearts to the graces poured out to us through the Eucharist. Altar servers take that participation one step further.
“Service is a different way of participating actively,” Fr. Godfrey says. “It requires a bit more attention, but it’s the same principle — full and active participation in the Mass. When we are engaged more completely, we’re more likely to notice and hear details otherwise not observed.”
It’s difficult to be so close to the altar during the Consecration without your faith being impacted. So, through direct participation, servers develop an appreciation for all that goes into the Mass — from the aid of the sacristans to the prayers of the priest. In turn, the faith becomes even more real.
Parent-child teams are a unique gift. While the parent can help a child who might be more nervous, children can draw their parents into deeper participation and awe.
“Parents and children serving together would be helpful in that the parent can often assist the children in carrying out their responsibilities — carrying the candles in the procession, bringing the book to the priest, helping set up the altar for the Eucharistic liturgy, ringing the bells, and on solemn feasts, helping with incense,” Fr. Godfrey says. “Keeping the details straight can be a challenge, especially for younger servers or those who find managing details difficult. They can help each other remember what needs to happen.”
Anyone 8 years and up is welcome to be trained as an altar server. If you are looking for a way to enter more deeply into the Mass and become more active in your participation, consider giving your time in this unique way.
To learn more or to be trained, contact the parish office at 618-234-1166.