On Saturday last (16th April) we had our latest training session for altar servers. Ranging in age from teenagers to First Holy Communion age (8), 14 members of our team came together. We began with an A – Z of Sunday Mass: how we prepare the church for Mass, the entrance procession, general comportment, the Offertory, the Eucharistic Prayer and Holy Communion, the recessional procession, and after-Mass duties.
Our servers are very engaged, enthusiastic, and curious — always wanting to find out more about the ministry they exercise, and keen to move to the ‘next step’ – doing something they haven’t yet done (candle-bearer, thurifer, boat-bearer, cross-bearer, missal-bearer, Senior server etc). Our aim is that each server will be able to step into any role as circumstances demand.
We had planned to have a long training session in the church, but due to a choral rehearsal, we had to wait 40 minutes (due to my double-booking the church). As it turned out, the 40 minutes was very profitable — the weather was good, the children and older servers played various demanding and energetic schoolyard games in the garden: what actually was essentially a superb team-building exercise. It was gratifying to see all the servers, from youngest to oldest, becoming even more a team. The senior members were including and encouraging the younger members, who in turn were looking to them for leadership and guidance.
The session in the church covered practicalities: even when you’re enthusiastic, don’t run; work as a team, not as competitors; look to the senior servers to remind you what you should be doing; say the prayers and sing, along with the congregation; help each other both before and after Mass — and so on.
Pizza afterwards was both a lure and a reward, and it was good that parents of servers shared the meal.
We are richly blessed to have so many keen, committed servers: it was pointed out to them that they are an important sign of the life of our parish, and one which we never take for granted. Visitors comment on the music, the numbers of people at Mass, the internationality of our community, the numbers of babies, infants and young families — and on the (very visible) presence of, and number of, our servers.
Teresa Rubaek organised the half-day meeting, and is now in process of organising the next day out (probably to Walligator. New servers (aged 8 – 80) always welcome!