Here at Little Flower Parish we have a community of thirty-five of our young folks supporting us in the ministry of Altar Server. Included in that number are boys and girls in the third grade all the way through high school. Many began their service just after receiving their first Holy Communion and have faithfully served well into their high school years.
We see them at every weekend and special liturgy we celebrate as a parish, and additionally are fortunate to have them routinely assist us at funeral Masses and the Rite of Christian Burial.
Holy Week is a busy time in any parish liturgically speaking, and it was a joy to serve with all of our young people. I noticed that a few of our older servers had taken the lead and functioned at every major liturgy from Palm Sunday through the Easter Vigil.
I had the opportunity to talk to some of them with regard to their experiences. Without exception, each of them conveyed a significant feeling of accomplishment in what they had just participated in. While not totally surprised to hear how they felt, I was surprised in the consistency of their response.
Sophia, one of our newer servers, assisted at multiple liturgies Easter weekend. When asking her which Mass was most meaningful to her, she quickly replied it was the Easter Vigil. I hadn’t anticipated that answer, especially because the Vigil usually runs about two and a half hours.
While considering that information, I asked Sophia what was her favorite part of the Liturgy. She surprised me again when she said, “My favorite part in the Easter Vigil Mass was when the whole Church is blacked out and then the people bring the light in and spread the light of Christ.” Sophia also told me that she really enjoyed the opportunity to just sit in darkness and to listen to the stories read to her. “I knew the stories”, she said, “but it felt very good to have someone read them to me.”
I’ve always felt as Sophia does and see the Old Testament Readings as an inspiring part of the liturgy. Sophia added that she hopes to be able to serve next year during Holy Week just as she has done this year.
I have no idea how many young folks might be willing to have the same experiences that Sophia and other Altar Servers have each week. I encourage parents and guardians to talk to their children about the opportunity to serve our parish community in this ministry. I know it made a difference in my life. If either you or your children need any information on how to get involved, please contact any of us directly or through the parish office.
-Deacon Tom Gordon