Well, not just any altar server. David James was the assistant moderator of the servers at my parish for nearly a decade — and did a superb job. (Before anyone asks: yes, we have a priest who acts as moderator for the kids, though it’s his assistant who does the heavy lifting of supervising schedules and training the kids.)
We have about 100 servers in my parish, and the work they do, week after week, liturgy after liturgy, is nothing short of spectacular. (The highest compliment I can bestow: they’re so good, they almost seem Anglican.)
David was a tough taskmaster — in his world, there’s never such a thing as too much rehearsal — but he infused everything he did with enthusiasm, joy and love for the liturgy. The kids are crazy about him, and they all love what they do. I don’t know any other parish where seven or eight servers show up on a Friday night, just to help with our Stations of the Cross during Lent — to carry torches, or the cross, or candles, or just be in the procession. Amazing. Our 11:30 mass on Sunday typically has six or eight servers — incense, torches, the whole nine yards — and there’s nothing quite like our Easter Vigil and Midnight Mass.
And, here’s the great thing. The kids don’t quit when they enter high school. Many keep doing it, even into college. (David himself is a doctoral student at Fordham, studying church history.)
Well, yesterday David got married, and passed the torch (almost literally) to another server, who will now be drilling the kids. (I’m happy to report that David’s bride, Marian, is the granddaughter of a deacon. Maybe God is grooming another one?) Saturday, David’s nuptial mass included four priests, a deacon (guess who) and — something I’ve never seen at a wedding — 12 servers. It was beautiful.
Of course, they had to pose for a picture.
Congratualtions, David and Marian!