Altar servers and bare feet

At daily Mass yesterday, the two altar servers (high school boys wearing the traditional cassock and surplice) didn’t have on any shoes or socks.

So, the usual daily Mass ground were discussing it because we hadn’t seen it before. Is there any particular reason that they would be bare foot? Some people thought it was because they didn’t have the proper shoes. I don’t think that’s the case since both of these boys have always dressed properly and simply like to follow the rules.

Do you know of a tradition that calls for this? Thanks to all!

Ask them, or ask the priest. Personally I think even flipflops would be better than bare feet.

You know, back in the time of the Old Covenant, the priests and Levites, when they served God in the temple, had to go barefoot! Perhaps the boys learned this and tried to imitate it in their altar serving. Not necessary now, though.

There is also this trend with teenagers and college kids these days to do without shoes. For them, flip flops are considered fancy and stifling footwear! I don’t know how that one started, but it is true here.

Well, part of the problem is that both of our priests have now been transfered…didn’t get a chance to talk to them. I’ll ask one of the altar servers if I see them. I don’t get much of a chance to talk to them…don’t really even know them.

I don’t think that their shoes would have made a difference. I have seen some ridiculous shoes on the feet of our young altar servers on Sunday. They almost always have tennis shoes on during the week.

Ah well, I’m sure I’ll get an answer eventually.

So… your servers have been discalced?

:rotfl: :rotfl: :rotfl:

In my parish, servers may only wear dark or dress shoes. No sandals, bare feet, socklessness, flip-flops, or filthy white basketball shoes.

I do know of a (some) indian rites (from India-under Rome)…where it is disrespectful to wear shoes at the Mass, or in the presence of the Eucharist.

Several young men in our confirmation class this year received their sacrament while barefooted-they has just studied about the Jewish High Priests removing their shoes in the Presence of the Holiest of Holy.

The Bishop recognized their symbol of respect right away!

If they were otherwise very nicely dressed but barefoot, yes you could make that connection. Although I’d hope it wasn’t winter, the church floor wasn’t stone and their feet were clean!

Otherwise - it seems, to my slightly cynical mind, a bit more like an excuse not to wear footwear than anything else.

Thanks you all for your responses.

Many years ago the sisters used to require the altar servers in some churches to wear special tennis shoes. This avoided black marks on the varnished floors from rubber heels.

The thing I like about jokes like this, is they would make sense to approxametly 0 people in my area. I roffled though

Ditto SenorSalsa.

In quite all Indian churches people take off the footwear. Usually this is mandatory everywhere, not only in southern Malabar rite churches. For example in Calcutta, out of the chapel where is the tomb of Mother Theresa there is a notice for pilgrim and tourists: “Please remove their footwear before entering”.
**I never saw in India a shod altar boy. **

In some Orthodox and Eastern Catholic churches the clergy remove their regular shoes and replace them with fabric “slipper-type” shoes before offering the Divine Liturgy.

This has its roots in the Old Testament, as some have noted above, no leather products worn during the Holy Qurbono (Divine Liturgy). This goes for belts, as well. That’s one of the reasons for the zone (cincture-type) vestment.

You can see photos of the footwear here, as well as all the vestments worn by a priest of the Syrian Orthodox Church.


As for servers doing this, it could be for a similar reason, or perhaps they are interested in Carmelite spirituality (particularly that of the Discalced variety).

God bless,

This is a very old thread. I posted it in July of 2008. It has been answered. Thank you.

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