This weekend we have the blessing of a dozen new altar servers which is always an inspiration to see the enthusiasm with which they undertake this service. Let me share with you a story of a young man serving at the altar. His mother asked me if he could go through the training, despite his only being in third grade. And so he did with great enthusiasm. Over the course of his first year, he couldn’t stand still, would fidget, and sometimes when holding the missal it was impossible for me to read. As the next years training arrived, I thought, “never again a third grader…too much of a distraction.” But the next day his mother came to me and told me this: He had just had a dream. He was in the church with me, dressed in his ‘priest clothes,’ fighting off the ‘bad guys’ who were trying to attack Jesus. She also related that on their 3 hour drive to Grandma’s, he would pray the rosary non-stop. She thanked me for being a positive influence on her son.
This was 10 years ago. Now this young man is joining the marines. Despite his family moving across the country, we have kept in contact, and he was excited to let me know how his life journey is progressing.
Being a pastor means being a spiritual father. I thank God for the privilege of serving you in this way, and look forward to the graces that God will work in our lives together.
Because altar serving has long been connected with promoting vocations, I want to continue to emphasize this. St. Mary’s is blessed with very capable female altar servers. In order to make the vocational encouragement even more explicit, we are going to add a black scapular to the vesture that female altar servers wear. This is being done to visually make the connection with the religious life to which young ladies are called. Boys will still dress like priests, girls like religious sisters.
If you were at the server installation ceremony today (10:30am), you also noticed another way to make the connection more explicit. Each of the male servers was vested by me with their surplice, while Sister Susan Louise vested the female servers with the scapular. It is an important day for each as they embark on this journey of service, and I am hopeful they will remember this day with joy.
Please encourage vocations. Generous prayer, faithfulness, and service are the fertilizer that make vocations grow in our families.
Fr. John Mosimann