Monday, 23 June 2008


This is just a bit of a rant really, but the other day I was reading the First Things Blog and there was a tribute to Tim Russert who was a fairly well know Catholic Broadcaster.

One of the tributes went thus:

“He prepared for broadcasts the way he had prepared for Mass back in his altar-boy days. ‘Part of your responsibility was to be punctual,’ he wrote. Sometimes he had to go wake the assistant pastor, who liked his sleep; if Russert did not do what he was supposed to do, the service would not happen. ‘It all seemed so natural then, but when I look back on it, I’m struck by how much responsibility we had,’ he wrote. ‘We wern’t even in high school yet, but age-old traditions with great meaning depended on our showing up on time and doing the job exactly right.’”

I think this is something which has sadly been lost in the role of the alter server... I remember when I was an Alter Boy having to make up rotas and being accountable directly to the Parish priest; then later on all of that was done and we were really just on the alter to make the Mass 'look nice'. Towards the end of serving I found that I felt a bit of a display tool rather than anything else; especially when they introduced alter girls, it seemed a little bit of an effeminate thing to do in the fact that people wanted us to be pretty, not to actually assist the priest.

In many ways young people have been declared 'too young' you have responsibility and yet we have a whole generation who struggle to 'be' responsible. Young people aren't stupid, but when you're told all the time that you're irresponsible, then you begin to believe it. Maybe it's time we thought seriously about how vital the role in assisting at the alter of God is and not about playing equality politics which is essentially a using young people for our own agenda's and that is an abuse.

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