Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Female Altar Servers? No Problem

It's a pretty common opinion among my generation of priests that the presence of female altar servers makes boys less desirous of serving at the altar, and therefore less likely to hear the call to priesthood. I strongly disagree. I'm tired of the statistics being twisted (the ones that accurately show that most new priests were once altar servers) to suit the polemic against altar girls.

It's not girl altar servers that push boys (or anyone) away from altar serving. Rather, it's sub-par altar server training. It's the failure to give children actual responsibilities. It's lazy and lackluster liturgy. All of those things have been pretty much concurrent with the presence of female altar servers. To blame the middle/high school age altar server exodus on mere presence of girls is to completely ignore the real issues.

I was an altar server. One of my fellow priests was also an altar server with me, same age, same parish. There were a ton of female altar servers too. Neither of us were driven away from serving nor from the priesthood. Why? We loved serving. We were taught well, and we had responsibilities. We enjoyed being good at what we did, and we didn't want to let anyone down. That's really all it took to keep our interest. The gender of the participants had nothing to do with it.

Furthermore, the presence of female servers in no way hindered the parochial vicar (who was in charge of the servers) from encouraging priestly vocations all the time. We heard about it on a regular basis, and in fact, that's where I got the idea.

If you are half-hearted in your training of altar servers, you'll get half-hearted servers that think what they're doing is lame. And that's how you lose altar servers. Blaming it on girls is a red herring that needs to go away.

1 comment:

  1. I read all of the comments made until 2:00 a.m. on Early Thursday morning! I can see both sides of the problem. I think that it is a good thing for a girl to serve at the altar as well as boys to serve at the altar. If someone would ask if the mother of God had served at the altar, I would say to them well who do you think made the bread? Of course she is not seen with the apostles at the last supper, but I believe that the good Lord would think that it was a fine act of Love for whoever might come to the altar of God and say the responses and pray with the people at church like they do at mine. I love the young boys and girls who willingly serve at our mass, and I equally love to see a young man or an older man go to help the priest during the Mass on the weekdays, when the children are in school. I remember when the altar boys used to hold the holy paten under the chin of the people when they were about to receive the host to make sure that it didn't fall. I am an eucharist minister and I am a woman. Would that man who does not like to see a little girl not want to receive a consecrated host from me because I am not a man? The thing is that my fingers have been consecrated in order to give the Holy Eucharist to the sick of the parish. There is no greater love than this who can give the Precious Divine Lord and God to the poor sick of the parish, because there are so many elderly, sick people that the priest would not be able to have a small little service before to each person that he had to see at a home or a hospital. I Love the man who said all of those things about the little girls and the women but he should be grateful that woman want to help participate in the things that he doesn't want to do or doesn't want to go to. May the Good Lord Bless Him and open his eyes to the beauty of our faith!