With this letter I would like to call all young men who are willing and able to serve at the altar during the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. We are ready to start scheduling servers for the fall months, and that means we should soon have an initial training at each campus to implement some changes. If you have been to Mass at our Paulding campus in the last couple of weeks, you have seen some of the changes already: some adjustments in when and where the altar servers bow, where they walk throughout the Mass, how they handle the various liturgical items, some notes on posture while sitting and standing, the use of communion patens to prevent the Sacred Host from hitting the floor if it were to be dropped, and the holding of torches at the ambo (i.e., pulpit) during the reading of the Gospel. We will also be taking steps to help young men learn to use correct vocabulary for everything they handle. Thanks to an anonymous, restricted donation, we were also able to purchase cassocks and surplices for our Antwerp and Paulding campuses. Payne already uses cassocks. Although either albs or cassocks-and-surplices are permitted, I would like us to use the more solemn and traditional cassocks at each of our campuses, also to have uniformity.
In the next several weeks, we will schedule training at each campus, probably on Sunday afternoon. This is an opportunity for young men who have not yet served to include their names for our schedulers. To be eligible to serve, a young man must turn nine years old during the semester when he begins his service at the altar; and he must be capable of solemnly, prayerfully and nobly carrying out the altar servers’ functions during Mass. If a young man is already involved in another ministry, such as cantoring or lectoring or ushering, we can coordinate our scheduling, so that nobody will have to bilocate to accomplish both services. If you are interested in joining our team of servers, please call the respective scheduler/trainer at each campus, or call the parish office to let us know. Also, don’t be surprised if we take the initiative to call some eligible young men to invite them to serve. Serving is a privilege, and an honor; and it certainly is a great opportunity to learn about the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass in a very special way. So, please call us to complete our altar servers’ lists. (Those men already on our servers’ lists do not have to call us; rather, just those who would be new to the servers program.) I plan on being involved personally in the training sessions, along with the adults who already have been doing our server training.
On another, but related note, I heard on a Catholic radio talk show discussion about an upcoming documentary to be aired by CNN, focusing on the small town of Fowler, in the Diocese of Lansing, Michigan. There are a couple of biological brothers getting ordained from that town, in addition to some other vocations that have come from Fowler. The phenomenon even caught the attention of the secular mainstream media. Asking why the town has produced so many vocations, the talk show discussion focused on the solid family life predominant in the town of Fowler. Let’s keep our eyes open for the airing of this documentary (no details were available at the time of the talk show last week) to see what we can learn. Although the mainstream media tends to miss the point regarding most things Catholic, perhaps there is something we can learn, some vision we could gain from the documentary. My experience already of our parish (all three campuses) is that there is some pretty awesome family culture happening.
Have a blessed week!
In cordibus Iesu et Mariae,