It’s been a few years now since I’ve been serving at the altar at Thursday morning mass at St. Joseph. There are a couple of reasons why.
First, I started because I made a rather overreaching promise to attend more than one mass a week. And as usually happens in cases such as these, what started as a bit of a chore turned into a blessing and one of the highlights of my week.
Second, once it became a habit, I learned to appreciate the particular charms of weekday masses, with the sparse smattering of senior members of our parish, the comfort of hearing mass spoken in the language of my childhood, Korean, and the quietness of the church and the opportunities for focused and uninterrupted prayer at the tabernacle.
Third, you may know that I became a Catholic only seven years ago, so I was never an altar server as a boy, having grown up Protestant. So I missed out on that formative experience, and I feel I now have a happy obligation to play catch up!
Fourth, it’s often the case that Fr. Gerry is on his own, although our Deacon Shinn does his best to be present, so he really does need an altar server. I shudder at the thought of Fr. Gerry celebrating mass all by himself up there. Plus I really enjoy being a true “server” for a morning, not “leading” as I’m always so busy doing on Sundays, even though of course I truly feel that I am a servant to the youth and their faith formation.
Finally, since it’s never really busy on a Thursday at church, Fr. Gerry and I have made a little ritual out of catching up with each other after mass and then having lunch together. These brief hours we spend together have really helped us to stay on the same page about our parish and have been an inexpressibly great source of strength to me in leading my youth ministry. I’m going to miss these lunches when Fr. Gerry retires in June.
One last word. My daughter’s school had parent teacher conferences this morning, and no school for the students, so after meeting with her teacher, we both had the whole day free, so I brought her along with me and she served at the altar for the first time in her life. She really loved it and did a great job!