Serving at Mass is something of a rite of passage for many of the Catholic youth. Once children reach the appointed age, they go through training and begin serving alongside more experienced altar servers to become comfortable and learn the processes of this important work. Mass runs more smoothly when there are well-trained altar servers to assist the priests.
When Sanjana Pullan was in fifth grade, all of the students in Faith Formation were trained as altar servers. This put her on a path of stewardship and dedication to a ministry at the parish.
“Once I was trained, there was no reason not to do it,” Sanjana says. “I was really nervous in the beginning and I expected it to be harder than it was. But it really wasn’t difficult and I quickly got over my nerves. And now it is something that I can practically do with my eyes closed!”
Following the faithful examples of stewardship from her family members, it was natural for Sanjana to take this role of serving seriously.
“Being involved in the parish is something I grew up with,” she says. “Both of my parents are very active in the church. My mom coordinates the music and my dad is a lector and Eucharistic Minister. Now both of my sisters serve with me as well. It is just a part of my life.”
For the last seven years, Sanjana has been serving at the altar. This role has been helpful in how she participates and experiences the Mass.
“When you sit in the pew, it can be easy to get distracted or start daydreaming,” Sanjana says. “When I am serving, it requires me to pay attention. I appreciate the intricate parts of the Mass more because I have to pay attention in order to fill my role. It is special to help set the altar for the Consecration.
“After I receive the Eucharist and kneel down while the rest of the congregation receives the
Communion, that is a very special prayer time for me.”
In addition to serving on the altar, Sanjana has been an accompanist on the piano for Mass as well. She recognizes how much God has blessed her and how important the church community is. This is one way that she is able to give back.
“It is a really fulfilling ministry,” Sanjana says. “We are already at Mass, so it isn’t a time-consuming activity, but it is a very important hour that you are serving. When I serve, I feel like I am serving Christ directly. It encourages you to put more time and effort into your relationship with God.”
Since she has been trained to handle the incense, she has served at many funerals. Getting to serve in this capacity has been really impactful for her, as well.
“Sometimes we receive ‘thank you’ notes for serving at the funerals,” Sanjana says. “It is a special job to get to do that and they really appreciate us taking the time to serve.”
This past spring, Sanjana graduated high school. Her many years of serving continue to root her in her faith and in service to the church.
“I really feel how important it is to be a part of the parish,” she says. “I have a strong desire to
continue being a part of that in the future.”
At the stewardship renewal each January, children are encouraged to sign up to join this important ministry. Fr. Paul has training sessions at each parish to train the new altar servers who sign up.