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

Allelulia! Love Is Alive! Watch

Image of

By Norm LeDonne

Jesus Christ is the embodiment of love. He lived his life demonstrating acts of love and mercy as an example for us all. As a reward for his love, he was crucified. Little did his executioners know or understand that his death, necessary to redeem our sins, heralded ... continue reading


Book Review: Encountering The Manuscripts

Image of

By Norm LeDonne

I never gave much thought as to how the New Testament came to be written. I had assumed that someone carefully compiled the various writings sometime in the late 1st century, and that an intact New Testament existed from that time. That being said, I was frequently ... continue reading


Jesus Loves You: Trust in Him!

Image of

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

There is so much to prayer beyond simply asking God for all that we need in this life. When we trust in Jesus, and subsequently praise and worship Him for all that He is, we are surprisingly and profoundly filled with hope for today and eternity, we encounter sublime ... continue reading


Who Am I

Image of

By Norm LeDonne

Humble people often have times in their lives when they receive an honor that they think they did not deserve. This praise may lead them to ask the question "who am I to deserve this?" They consider themselves unworthy of the glory for whatever reason and they question ... continue reading


The Storm of Resistance

Image of

By Jackie Stammen

The powerful winds swirled and twisted around my body as I stood there motionless. It danced so close to me, yet left me completely unscathed. It circled round me as if I was the eye of it's existence standing there in it's center completely calm and at peace. My arms ... continue reading


We Can't Give Up On Marriage

Image of

By Tara K. E. Brelinsky

Considering the recent focus on the family both inside and outside of the Church, it seemed fitting that we'd find ourselves under a spiritual attack, targeted directly at our Achilles's heel. Thus, I wasn't startled to sense that persistent nagging in my gut that ... continue reading


An Encounter With Jesus Through The Hand Of A Child

Image of (Blue Caleel/Pinterest).

By Jackie Stammen

Surprises. Our God is full of surprises. A mentor in my life once told me to expect surprises in life, you are sure to have them. Good or bad, you will experience surprises. Three weeks prior to the end of 2014 (good riddance, you crazy year, I am so glad you are well ... continue reading


The Nails

Image of

By Norm LeDonne

The Nails is a heartfelt ballad by Michael Schroeder, expressing the remorse and love felt by Christians when pondering the great sacrifice that Jesus made for our sins. The song itself is subdued and quite simple in structure and performance. However, this ... continue reading


On Being a Catholic Christian:

Image of

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

Being a Christian today can be riddled with challenges and awkward times. Being a believing Christian is not for the faint of heart, or for those looking for popularity or worldly reward. However, they are compelled to embrace the high road whenever humanly possible, ... continue reading


So Shines a Good Deed in a Weary World

Image of

By Jackie Stammen

Beginning on Saturday of this past weekend, the phrase made popular by Gene Wilder's character in the 1971 film, "Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory," "So shines a good deed in a weary world," has been dancing around in my head. I guess it would be logical for me to ... 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, Daniel 7:9-10, 13-14
9 While I was watching, thrones were set in place and one most venerable ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 138:1-2, 2-3, 4-5
1 [Of David] I thank you, Yahweh, with all my heart, for you have ... Read More

Gospel, John 1:47-51
47 When Jesus saw Nathanael coming he said of him, 'There, truly, is an ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for September 29th, 2016 Image

St. Michael the Archangel
September 29: Saint Michael the Archangel isn't a saint, but ... Read More