Photo Credits to Mrs. Carolyn Simansky
Most priests’ first memories of serving the Lord are as altar servers. A national survey of men being ordained priests found that three-quarters of new priests were at one time altar servers. A parish can create an atmosphere of reverence and duty at Mass that reinforces in young people the joy of serving the Lord. Below are some resources for you to create that atmosphere at your parish, especially among your altar servers.
Here is a video interview with Fr. Preston Quintela, a priest from the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston, who helped to create the Knights of the Altar, which is a hierarchical program that encourage the young people in the parish to strive for excellence while serving. They have seen an increase in their parish from 3 altar servers serving per Mass to 6-10 servers serving per Mass.
We are partnering with Fr. Jonathan Meyer, pastor of All Saints parish in the Archdiocese of Indianapolis, to share these messages with altar servers and those who train them.
“All I can say is that the more you challenge your youth, the more they will respond. Serving is an art, and the youth you have serving for you are very smart…they just need to be challenged and pushed. I personally do not exclude girl servers, that is not an issue for me. Look at your servers as a mini youth group. They need: catechesis, fraternity, relationships, and an identity. It is worth spending time here as this is an area that priests often do not take on as they could/should and end up frustrated at Mass, or frustrated that they cannot celebrate as they desire due to not having good servers. I tell my servers on a regular basis- they are on the forefront of evangelization at the parish.” ~ Fr. Jonathan Meyer , All Saints Parish, Pastor