A LETTER FROM FATHER KEITH
ON COMMITMENT REQUIREMENTS
FOR SERVERS AND FAMILIES
When your children were baptized you were given a blessing stating that, “You will be the first teachers of your children in the ways of faith. May you be the best of teachers by bearing witness to them what you say and do.”
Your child has been so moved to seek to become a public witness of their Catholic Faith in requesting the privilege to be a server at the altar of God in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. In making this request the church inquires about the readiness of your child to assume the duties of Altar Server. It is the Church’s desire to ensure that the candidate is practicing their faith within their family and parish and understands the commitment they are undertaking. Weekly attendance at mass is part of the Ten Commandments and directive of the Lord as handed down by the Apostles.
I am asking parents to give their consent and affirm their child in their desire to serve at God’s holy altar and to be a leader of prayer by being diligent in their preparation when assigned to serve. Parents should assist their children in the following ways:
ATTIRE: Dress shoes/boat shoes are preferred but I understand how quickly kids grow. It should be the best shoes in which they have access to at the time. No flip flops or backless sandals, they are trip hazards going up and down the steps of the altar. No printed T-Shirts (they show through the server albs). Often it is hot, so light clothing is suggested during summer months.
FASTING: You know your children best…if they need to eat before coming to mass then do so keeping in mind the hour fast prior to receiving the Eucharist. This will help to prevent upset stomachs and some of the fainting. If they are not feeling well, then sometimes a substitute is impossible to find at short notice. I’d rather announce for a server prior to mass than have a sick child on the altar.
FINDING SUBSTITUTES: If your child is assigned, it is their responsibility to find a substitute. It has become my experience that there are 5 or 6 very dedicated servers volunteering as substitutes because servers are not showing up for their assigned mass. If your child wants to serve, then they should be dressing appropriately for every mass so they are able to step in as a substitute.
HYGIENE: Being a public minister, they should take pride in being a leader of prayer. That means attentiveness to personal hygiene. Hair should be combed, access to a handkerchief/Kleenex in their pocket, hands/face clean (fingernails should be free of polish if not an appropriate color or in good condition. Black is not an appropriate color; nor is alternating lime green, pink, yellow and blue…yes I’ve seen it all! J)
ARRIVE EARLY: Servers should be at mass at a minimum of 7 to 10 minutes before mass starts. I will announce for volunteers to take the place of absent servers at the 5 minute mark.
SERVER AGE: You must be a 5
th grader or above to serve. There is no limit to how long one can serve. In the recent past, Andy Ryan served throughout his entire high school career. What an inspiration and dedication to the faith!
MISTAKES: Many times servers are nervous about making mistakes. I make mistakes every mass as a celebrant. I don’t get upset…I see those moments as times of learning what not to do or how to do it better. I normally whisper directions to them till they grow in confidence in knowing what to do on the altar and thus can grow in loving to be such an active participant in the celebration of the Eucharist.
I appreciate the business of life and the hectic schedules of families, especially with multiple siblings, conflicts of sports and other extracurricular activities. We are only human and I know nothing is perfect but ask for your assistance as parents to make this ministry a moment of faith to be cherished by your child and to deepen their participation in the mystery of God revealed in their service to His name and Church.
If you are willing to assist your child, then I ask you to have a conversation with your son or daughter about the above requirements. If all are in agreement that this is a holy and faith-filled endeavor fill, please fill out and submit the online form below.