Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Vincent Johnson

10/31/2013 (2 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 (2 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

Lamb of God Watch

Image of

By Norm LeDonne

In the Lenten season, we are called to reflect on our sins, and on the sacrifice of Jesus Christ for the redemption of those sins. The song Lamb of God, by Twila Paris, provides a powerful focus for our reflection. Twila uses the song to tell the story of Jesus, though ... continue reading


Who am I

Image of Who am I (Musica/YouTube)?

By Kathy Farrell

So, who am I? I am a Catholic, a Special Education Teacher, and a Boomer, although some rough edges of these features have been smoothed. I have not always been a Catholic, although I did graduate from the Catholic University of America. Theologically, I believe I am ... continue reading


Be Forgiven Watch

Image of

By Norm LeDonne

As Christians, we all know that we are sinners. And, as sinners, we all would like to be forgiven of our sins. Some of us (most of us?) have at one time or another done some pretty awful things, making it hard to believe that we can be forgiven. However, the Bible ... continue reading


Pray for Whatever You Need

Image of

By Chaplain Adele M. Gill, RN, BSN

Imagine having someone standing in wait for you to hand over to them all your fears, pain and anxieties. Someone who can and will pave the way for you simply for the asking. Someone who will relieve you from every burden, and accompany you through every trial you could ... continue reading


I Wish

Image of

By Michael Seagriff

The answers to the problems facing our nation and world will not be solved by any of our political parties or politicians. These issues are spiritual in nature and beyond the ability of mere mortal men and women to rectify. CANASTOTA, NY - Unfortunately, far too ... continue reading


Series: Growing Up Catholic

Image of Growing up Catholic (acnuk).

By Adele M. Gill, RN, BSN, CPC

Today I have a personal story to share about growing up Catholic. I have many memories of Sundays spent as a young girl going to church and trying hard to keep the Sabbath holy. I'm sure you've heard many half believable stories from your grandparents about how tough ... continue reading


The Law of the Jungle

Image of

By Cheryl Jones

In this next election cycle one thing is clear.  This nation must return to law and order. Law and order are the only safeguards against the law of the jungle. Over the centuries, there was a striving for freedom which culminated in the American Revolution.  ... continue reading


Paving the Way to Vote Your Conscience

Image of

By Chaplain Adele M. Gill, RN, BSN, CPC

This week, Hillary Clinton picked her VP running mate, Virginia Sen. Tim Kaine, a Jesuit-taught Catholic. Media pundits are touting his strong Pro-life personal views. However, a closer look reveals his political beliefs on vital social issues, such as the death ... continue reading


Laying Aside a Root of Bitterness

Image of

By Cheryl Jones

In spite of the desperate times in which we live, there has been a certain indulgence in bitterness among conservatives. There are those who wanted a "different" candidate to be nominated and rather than looking at the bigger picture, of the threats to liberty, ... continue reading


Ask for the Old Paths

Image of

By Cheryl Jones

There is a thought in modern day society that "newer is better".  To some extent, that is true. Who does not appreciate plumbing, sanitation, refrigeration, modern construction and transportation? And then of course there are electronics. We can instantly ... 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

the FEED
by Catholic Online

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Revelation 21:9-14
9 One of the seven angels that had the seven bowls full of the seven ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 145:10-11, 12-13, 17-18
10 All your creatures shall thank you, Yahweh, and your faithful shall ... Read More

Gospel, John 1:45-51
45 Philip found Nathanael and said to him, 'We have found him of whom ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for August 24th, 2016 Image

St. Bartholomew
August 24: St. Bartholomew, 1st. century, one of the 12. ... Read More