Each and every one of us is called to share the gifts and talents that God has given us. This includes the youth of our parish. One wonderful opportunity for children to live out stewardship is by getting involved in the Mass as an altar server. Steve Meystrik is the Stewardship Coordinator here at the Cathedral of St. Joseph, and he knows firsthand the impact that altar serving can have.
“I had the privilege of being an altar server at both the Carmelite Monastery Chapel (now our Adoration Chapel) and the Cathedral during my years at St. Joseph Cathedral School, way back in the day,” Steve says. “I continued to serve for Holy Days and special Masses for several years in high school. Those were very good experiences for me and it allowed me to learn about and witness many beautiful aspects of our Catholic faith.”
Deacon John Schwartze has recently taken over the training for our altar servers. He plans to offer training for fifth grade through eighth grade at the school, starting as soon as possible once the new school year begins.
“The goal is to first help them learn how to do their role well,” Deacon John says. “Second, we want them to understand more deeply why they are performing the actions and what is going on during the various parts of the Mass. When I was their age it helped me greatly to learn the ‘why’ behind my actions as an altar server. I would attribute some of my vocation to the diaconate to being an altar server.”
Altar servers are present during the Mass to assist the priest and deacon. There is a wide range of duties that they help with. In addition to training altar servers for Sunday Mass, Deacon John hopes to train servers to specifically work with the bishop when he celebrates Mass.
“It is a privilege to be an altar server and to be so close to the miracle that happens on the altar at every Catholic Mass,” Steve says. “Through the actions and words of the priest, Jesus becomes truly present to us, and for us in the Blessed Sacrament. An altar server is right there, ringing bells to announce to all present that something very special is happening. The role of an altar server is very important and helps our youth grow in their knowledge of the Mass and the Catholic faith. It is my hope that more parents and guardians encourage their children to serve our Church in this special role.”
Parents can check a box on the Stewardship Commitment Card for each child interested in being an altar server, or they can let their teacher know that they are interested in serving. Parents and teachers can also contact Steve if they have a child who would like to receive training and be placed in the rotation for serving at weekend Masses.