Deacon John Shearer and I have been doing training for new servers and have been trying to keep up with the demand. We have a larger than usual crew of our young people who are very eager to be trained in the ministry.
It inspires me to have the children pop into the sacristy before Mass to ask if we need their help. It's nice to see too how the older servers have been taking the new servers under their wings and have been helping them to learn the duties. How important you older servers are! The younger ones need you and look up to you.
It is through their service at the altar that a sense of reverence really begins to set into the hearts of the children and they experience, maybe for the first time, a holy joy in the Mass. They learn what the sacred vessels are for and what the gestures mean. One boy, as he was vesting for Mass, proudly showed me his best dress shoes that he had put on for Mass that morning. I see a spiritual awakening take place in many of the servers.
As I train the children to be servers I try to help them to understand that the most important thing they do is not to carry stuff and move things around. I let them know that I can and do celebrate the Mass often without altar servers. So I don't need most of all their hands and legs; we need their hearts and spirits.
The servers are to represent the heavenly hosts – the angels and saints who worship around the Throne of God. They are to help everyone to see that God is present. They are to help the congregation to worship by their actions and reverence. They, like the angels and saints, are to point to Jesus.
The servers are to demonstrate a lesson for all of us. Anyone who would walk into a Mass at Nativity of Mary might not be able to see God but they should be able to see, by our joyful reverence and actions, that God is truly present.
God is calling our altar server ministry to a new glory. Thank you parents for offering your children who are responding to God with such joy.