Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Vincent Johnson

10/31/2013 (1 year 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 (1 year 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

This Is The Way; Walk In It

Image of 'No matter which way you go, go with me' says the Lord.

By Jackie Stammen

My heart seems to be in a continuous state of pondering the many questions scattered and spinning around in my head. I guess all hearts do this - or perhaps assuming so is my way of rationalizing my little bit of crazy. NASHVILLE, TN - Mondays are usually a battle for ... continue reading


The Secret to Raising a Saint

Image of Make your family life the best it can be, through love and Faith.

By Tara K. E. Brelinsky

Comparing their family to mine, I noted how soft-spoken and gentle they all were. From modest, tidy clothes to neat hair styles, their five children always appeared well groomed and respectful. Whereas (in my estimation), my brood of eight off-spring are more often ... continue reading


Dear Younger Self, Here's 5 Things You Don't Need to Worry About

By Tara K. E. Brelinsky

If I could go back and counsel my younger self, here are the top 5 Do's and Don't s I'd offer:* 1 Don't worry so much about appearances.* 2 Don't try to raise a star athlete, concert pianist, math wizard, novelist, ballerina, and black-belted karate kid.* 3 Don't do ... continue reading


Witnessing Miracles - Visualize all that God has Prepared for Those who Love Him

Image of 1 Corinthians 2:9 says,

By Shelly A. Schneider

1 Corinthians 2:9 says, "What no eye has seen and no ear has heard, what the mind of man cannot visualize; all that God has prepared for those who love him." NASHVILLE, TN - As a human being, there are things of this world that I do not know or understand: disease, ... continue reading


Wrestling with the Human Teenage Brain Watch

Image of Developmentally, teens and early 20-somethings are not at the place where they are concerned about (or even thinking of) the consequences of their behavior.

By Shelly A. Schneider

Christopher, our oldest, has come such a long way. At 22, he is serving his country as a soldier in the United States Army. Jim and I are incredibly proud of how he has grown in spirit, mind and body over the last 18 months. He has a plan for his life and is ... continue reading


S is for Shelly...and Sinner

Image of 'S' is for Sinner & Saint.

By Shelly A. Schneider

You've heard of the 'Scarlet Letter,' right? The woman in the novel wore a large red, 'A' on her person to signify her act of adultery.  NASHVILLE, TN - My act so many years ago had nothing to do with adultery, but I'm walking around these days with a giant ... continue reading


Laugh Today. Laugh Often. Laugh Heartily. Watch

Image of Woman laughing out loud.

By Jackie Stammen

It is always astounding to me how therapeutic laughter is. Laughter brings happiness. NASHVILLE, TN - Years ago I spent a lot of time with someone who would make fun of my laugh. I have a loud, hearty, and recognizable (maybe an even embarrassing laugh) and I guess he ... continue reading


Abortion: A Litmus Test for Believers Watch

Image of Pregnant? - Choose Life

By Chaplain Adele M. Gill, RN, BSN

August 3rd, 2015, was a tragic day in the life of Americans on both sides of the abortion debate, as the Senate voted 53-46 to continue funding Planned Parenthood. Both the abortion industry and US politicians have recently been exposed in America as ... continue reading


Christ has put us on earth to act as beacons that give light

Image of St. John Chrysostom - Feastday September 13

By Michael Seagriff

As we bemoan the apparent disintegration of the moral fiber and structure of this once great nation, we most recognize our own significant contributions to this tragic outcome - remaining silent in the face of evil, reluctance and fear to teach and defend the ... continue reading


Holy Spirit, watch over my children as they drive! Watch

Image of I pray for my children's safety every time they get behind the wheel.

By Shelly A. Schneider

Christopher and Michael have their driver's licenses, and our 17-year-old daughter, Sam, will test for the license any day now. There are so many thoughts that bounce around in my head when I realize that the person sitting next to me in the Mocha Machine (our pet name ... continue reading


All Blog News

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

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

Daily Readings

Reading 1, First Thessalonians 4:13-18
13 We want you to be quite certain, brothers, about ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 96:1, 3, 4-5, 11-12, 13
1 Sing a new song to Yahweh! Sing to Yahweh, all the ... Read More

Gospel, Luke 4:16-30
16 He came to Nazara, where he had been brought up, ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for August 31st, 2015 Image

St. Raymond Nonnatus
August 31: Raymond was born at Portella, Catalonia, Spain. He was delivered ... Read More

Inform, Inspire & Ignite Logo

Find Catholic Online on Facebook and get updates right in your live feed.

Become a fan of Catholic Online on Facebook


Follow Catholic Online on Twitter and get News and Product updates.

Follow us on Twitter