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

Orlando: Finding Peace in Tragedy Watch

Image of

By Chaplain Adele M. Gill

It is hard to be at peace watching the news these days, especially after seeing the coverage of the Orlando Shooting that just killed 50 innocent people and injured 53 more. As the world seems to be spinning out of control with mayhem, hatred, evil, and increased ... continue reading


Citizenship Begins at Conception Watch

Image of

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

Today, Hillary Clinton won the Democratic votes necessary to be the nominee for her party. A legendary and outspoken supporter of abortion, I am dismayed at the thought that Hillary could be president for a myriad of reasons, but especially her cold-blooded stance on ... continue reading


Abort! Abort! Watch

Image of

By Michaela Daphne

I was saying goodbye to a friend the other day - a friend who isn't from my Christian circles - and two little words tumbled out of my mouth before I could gather them up again:""God bless!"The thoughts that followed in my head went something like this:"Did I really ... continue reading


The idea of female ordination offends me Watch

Image of Not so fast!

By Michaela Daphne

My Uncle said that one day I'll be Pope. I'd like to point out at this point that I am female. He was joking of course, but unfortunately there are many people out there who would have taken his proclamation quite seriously and encouraged me to show the world that ... continue reading


A Corpus Christi Lament

Image of

By Michael Seagriff

When we entered Church yesterday on the Solemnity of the Body and Blood of Christ,was it any different than walking into a movie theater, a school auditorium or other public place? How much consideration was given to He Who is really truly and substantially present ... continue reading


Thank You for Giving Me Something to Work With

Image of

By Cheryl Jones

I feel led to give a simple testimony that may help others who pray. There are certain prayers I do on a regular basis. Today I expanded the scope of these prayers and included a wider group. When finished, I heard the Lord say, "Thank you for giving me something to ... continue reading


When Bad Things Happen Watch

Image of

By Cheryl Jones

The question, "Why do bad things happen to good people?" has been asked more than once.  Job, in the midst of his trials gave a clue where to look when there are problems. But ye should say, Why persecute we him, seeing the root of the matter is found in ... continue reading


The Political Rise and Fall of Dr. Ben Carson (Part Two)

Image of

By Justin Soutar

Within two and a half years' time, Dr. Ben Carson's political star had climbed with extraordinary steadiness from the horizon to the zenith, where it shone with dazzling brilliance, and then suddenly it plunged toward the opposite horizon, disappearing from view ... continue reading


'Tolerate as I have tolerated you' Watch

Image of

By Michaela Daphne

Jesus is not nice."Do not think that I have come to bring peace upon the earth. I have come to bring not peace but the sword." (Matt 10:34) BRISBANE, AUSTRALIA - It's no accident that C.S. Lewis used a lion to represent Christ."Safe?" said Mr. Beaver; "don't you hear ... continue reading


Believing in God's Providence Watch

Image of

By Jackie Stammen

This is a tough one for me, but I am certain this is a lesson God is desperately trying to teach me. It's a lesson I need to learn if I want progress in this journey of life with the Lord. NASHVILLE, TN - When I say 'learn' I don't mean to simply understand what God's ... 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

  • A Prayer for the Departed HD Video
  • Daily Readings for Wednesday, June 29, 2016
  • 'Stop shying away from death': Researchers claim dying patients ...
  • 'Your goodness is a place where I feel protected': Pope Francis ...
  • Sister Cecilia Maria's smile stuns
  • St. Peter: Saint of the Day for Wednesday, June 29, 2016
  • Fatima Morning Offering HD Video

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Acts 12:1-11
1 It was about this time that King Herod started persecuting certain ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 34:2-3, 4-5, 6-7, 8-9
2 I will praise Yahweh from my heart; let the humble hear and ... Read More

Gospel, Matthew 16:13-19
13 When Jesus came to the region of Caesarea Philippi he put this ... Read More

Reading 2, Second Timothy 4:6-8, 17-18
6 As for me, my life is already being poured away as a libation, and the ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for June 29th, 2016 Image

St. Peter
June 29: Peter, who was also known as Simon Peter of ... Read More