Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Vincent Johnson

10/31/2013 (3 years ago)

A Blest Life (www.ablestlife.com)

My fond memories of being an altar boy, circa 1970

Alter Servers are the marrow, if not the backbone of the Catholic Masses. They provide some of that pomp and circumstance that elevates the atmosphere of the mass. But, there is that hidden part that nobody but the servers know about. Here's a glimpse of some of that from years past!

It is a great privilege to be an alter server.

It is a great privilege to be an alter server.

Highlights

By Vincent Johnson

A Blest Life (www.ablestlife.com)

10/31/2013 (3 years ago)

Published in Blog

Keywords: altar, server, boy, girl, latin, incense, fire, host, priest, father, God, holy, church, mass,


MOORESVILLE, NC - Looking back, I would have to say one of the best experiences of my early life was being included in that elite group of those that ministered by serving Our Lord, our priests, and our congregation through performing our duties as altar servers. Of course, back then we were known as altar boys. While I was an altar boy; Paul VI was Pope, and it was not too long after they had implemented many of the changes initiated by the second Vatican Council.

That was the time of the altar rail, receiving the Blessed Sacrament on one's tongue while kneeling with the altar boys holding the Paten, and a mix of Latin and English spoken by the priest during Mass. It was also a time where I held a deep reverence for my function each time I entered the sacristy, walking behind the main marble altar and genuflecting on the back side where the Tabernacle would be conversely at the front of the altar. A time where I held all of the priests I served in high esteem. But, not to overload you with those highly contagious sentimental, holy feelings of reverence, let's tell some good altar boy stories.

One memory was when one of the servers had brought the thurible (it held the burning incense) back into the vestry to return to the main altar to finish mass. He was unaware that it had turned over and it started a fire, burning out the altar boy's vestry. It was not a pretty site with all the fire trucks in the parking lot. We received a lot of re-training after that one.

Another memory was when Fr. Leary (our Pastor at Saint Mary's church in Elmira, N.Y.'s south side) was distributing communion. I was at his side with my paten, when the host stuck to his finger, falling to the carpet. I think I was in shock just standing there frozen; afraid I was going to step on the "Body Of Christ" when it happened! Now, we all were well trained concerning never touching the Blessed Sacrament at any time, but Fr. Leary wasn't taking any chances on if I would remember or not. It felt like he threw me across the altar, well maybe half way, at least I think my feet left the floor. That was some respect Father gave to the Holy Eucharist! I've often wondered what the good folks out in the pews thought about all that had happened, I guess I'll never know.The funny thing was, the topic of what transpired was never spoken of. I was kind of glad, I just wanted it to quietly fade away.

To be an altar server is a special honor and a great privilege in the Catholic Church.


The warm feeling I get when I reminisce about these things always brings me to a happy place. When I think about how I was always called out of school by Fr. Leary to serve funeral mass at 9 am, gives me some constructive pride in what I did; he picked me. We realized this was as good as it got being an altar boy in the adjacent St. Mary's elementary school. It always seemed like Gerry Foley, Carlo Masia, and/or I (all of us best of friends) was called out of class each and every time. Then there was the subsequent Ice cream bars or sandwiches that were provided by Father after each mass was done. He would call us over to the enormous stainless steel rectory kitchen each time for our treat. We liked and respected Fr. Leary, but there was also a little healthy fear of him at times (well, was the pastor you know). We felt like he was fond of us too, a little more than the other altar boys; maybe it was because we showed respect towards him.

Anyway I wanted to share these memories for those retired altar servers, for the current servers to get a glimpse of what it was like back in 1970, and for anyone considering becoming an altar server. It is one of the best ways to serve God and his people!

A birth foretold: click here to learn more!

---

Web site to inspire others in facing their day.



Comments


More Blog

Life Is Seasonal - Embrace It

Image of

By Jackie Stammen

I've been reflecting much on the idea of seasons in our life lately.  NASHVILLE, TN - Seasons come and they go, it's inevitable. It's true for the kind of seasons that relate to weather but what I' m really talking about is the seasons of our lives. We often find ... continue reading


You Can't 'Untruth' THE Truth

Image of

By Jackie Stammen

Sometimes it smacks you in the face and sometimes it's a gradual, almost unnoticeable acquisition, but when you learn Truth, you can't "untruth" it.  NASHVILLE, TN - I'm talking about Truth of the Gospel, Truth of faith, and Truth of The Way. Once you learn it, ... continue reading


This Is Amazing Grace Watch

Image of

By Norm LeDonne

Amazing grace. King of glory. Worthy is the Lamb that was slain. A traditional Christian spiritual. The Old Testament. The New Testament. What do these three things have in common? They are all lyrics in the Phil Wickham song "This is Amazing Grace." This young ... continue reading


I Kissed His Feet

Image of

By Michael Seagriff

God calls all of us to walk the Via Dolorosa with Him, to spend time at the foot of His cross, to be there as He is nailed to it, to be there throughout the entire three hours of His agonizing death, to be there as He is taken down from the cross, to be there as He is ... continue reading


Your Name Rules The Atmosphere Watch

Image of

By Norm LeDonne

Jesus was born to save us from our sins, to bring us hope and to show us how to love. He is the source of our peace. We look to him for all of these things and more. What is more fitting than calling on him and recognizing all that he has done for us? <a ... continue reading


2017: 5 Ways to Start Anew

Image of

By Chaplain Adele M. Gill

The New Year is upon us and with it we get all get to start anew. What better way is there to start the New Year? It is a great time to look ahead to see where we want to be this time next year and switch gears to meet our new goals - new plans, new perspectives, new ... continue reading


3 Easy Steps to Growing in Gratitude

Image of

By Chaplain Adele M. Gill

I have a friend who tells me she gets pretty sentimental each New Year's Eve. Like so many people, looking back over the year - and looking ahead at the upcoming year - she has a blend of both nostalgia and anticipation. Nostalgia for all the good times, successes and ... continue reading


Joy To The World! Watch

Image of

By Norm LeDonne

"<a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DLT9dSt8cwg">Joy to the World</a>" is a traditional and popular Christmas carol. The lyrics to the carol were first published in 1719. The music is attributed either to George Frideric Handel or Lowell Mason. In ... continue reading


A Christmas and Eucharistic Reflection Watch

Image of

By Michael Seagriff

Imagine this Christmas that before exchanging gifts with family and friends, Jesus thanks you for the greatest gift you could have possibly given Him. What might that be? Interested? Listen to this podcast.Merry Christmas![media id="16661"]     continue reading


The Truth of A Charlie Brown Christmas Watch

Image of What keeps A Charlie Brown Christmas on the air year after year is because it speaks to the truth we all know in our hearts: the true meaning of Christmas!

By Michael Clark

After 49 years, Charlie Brown still outclasses all the other Christmas specials. For sure it was the first of many animated holiday specials, but it is its truth that keeps it the best of them all. DENVER, CO - First broadcast in 1965, A Charlie Brown Christmas set the ... continue reading


All Blog News

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Subscribe to Catholic OnlineYouTube Channel

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Hebrews 6:10-20
10 God would not be so unjust as to forget all you have done, the love ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 111:1-2, 4-5, 9-10
1 Alleluia! I give thanks to Yahweh with all my heart, in the ... Read More

Gospel, Mark 2:23-28
23 It happened that one Sabbath day he was taking a walk through the ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for January 17th, 2017 Image

St. Anthony the Abbot
January 17: Two Greek philosophers ventured out into the ... Read More