Saturday, April 30, 2011

Altar Boys & Vocations

Some observations about my 2,000-household parish regarding vocations:

We have had a boys-only corps of altar servers for at least the last 10 years; currently there are 49 servers, ranging from 6th grade through college. To have ten at the 11am Solemn Mass is not unusual.

We had one ordination in 2005.

We had another in 2007.

We currently have two seminarians.

Two of our college-age men (including my youngest son) will live in the diocesan discernment house next Fall. That's 2 out of a total of 8 for the whole diocese.

And of course there are also highschool-age servers who are explicitly considering vocations; one of our senior servers plans to go straight from highschool into the seminary.

I do not suggest a direct cause-and-effect here; nonetheless, the boys-only approach has a positive influence on vocations, and is a critical part of an overall conscious intent in the parish to nurture them.

The corps in action (scroll ahead to about 2:00)

2013: Our third former altar boy was ordained  this summer.

2014: Our fourth former altar boy will be ordained this summer.


cathmom5 said...

I have 3 teen age boys, even I can understand why there should be only boys at the altar. When something is perceived as a "girly" thing, boys stop serving. I am convinced that is why so many of our parish High School boys stop serving.

I came close to give in on the issue, and let my daughter serve. After all, she is only young once. However, when a female altar server went downstairs after Mass for the K of C breakfast, and a parisher told her that she would make a great priest, it cemented my resolve. My daughter will never be an altar girl.

I agree with you. I do believe that if we would stick to having altar BOYS, it WOULD impact vocations positively. Let's pray more parish are as courageous as yours!!! I wish ours was one.

Unknown said...

Over at another Catholic blog, an Eastern Orthodox was giving us a hard time that the Catholic Church was allowing girl altar servers and somehow that meant we weren't the True Church. Of course, when we questioned him on the EO changed position on birth control and allowing the use of condoms he sort of left in a huff. But nevertheless, some were agreeing that we should go back to boys only altar servers because it helps increase vocations to the priesthood.

Barb Schoeneberger said...

Boys only is the only way to go, if for no other reason than the weight of tradition. But that tradition had a holy purpose behind it. It's biblical that only men served at the altar. This in no way denigrates women. I don't need to be a priestess to offer myself and Jesus to the Father at Mass!

Anonymous said...

Beautiful. On all counts.

I expect that at least in part, families who are serious about their faith and fostering vocations are naturally drawn to such a parish.

And that a parish running a boys-only corps is serious about fostering vocations, and takes other steps as well. Certainly the beauty of that mass focuses the attention on Heaven in a particular way. That must help.

Jen <-- would be perfectly happy to attend such a parish.

kkollwitz said...

"families who are serious about their faith and fostering vocations are naturally drawn to such a parish."

Yeah! I never thought about it that way, but right away I can think of six such families with sons who are servers.

kkollwitz said...

BTW, in the video the assisting priest on the left is the well-known blogger/ author Fr. Longenecker, who now is pastor at Our Lady of the Rosary, also in Greenville, SC.