Altar Servers -- What type?

What do you personally prefer when it comes to altar servers?

How about none of the above.

My choice would be altar servers that are men or boys that have had training, but recognizing that due to the age of some of them and the fact that they are human they can make mistakes. In situations where the ideal can not be found (i.e. areas of the country with very few willing men/boys) then girls can be used.

Outside of convents and female prisons, there are few reasons to use female altar servers if the preference is for male altar servers. I have been to more than one large parish that used that excuse that no males wanted to serve Mass. Talk about a timeworn excuse.

I have also been to more than one small parish where they has a wonderful group of altar servers. It all depends on the effort put forth, and the guidance of parents in some cases.

Additionally there is never an excuse for poorly trained altar servers. Never.

[quote=Marauder]How about none of the above.

My choice would be altar servers that are men or boys that have had training, but recognizing that due to the age of some of them and the fact that they are human they can make mistakes. In situations where the ideal can not be found (i.e. areas of the country with very few willing men/boys) then girls can be used.
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There needs to be a minimum age. Grade 7 might work, although 9th grade might be best…

[quote=Crusader]There needs to be a minimum age. Grade 7 might work, although 9th grade might be best…
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That’s your opinion, not anything else. I have seen some real young kids doing the job better and more reverently then the teenagers.

What is the purpose of the ministry? To assist the priest and to foster a possible priestly vocation.

When is better to start trying to instill a possible priestly vocation? As soon as possible or wait until they reach high school?

I think it is better to start early before the distractions of high school start.

You train the kids but you have to be prepared for them to make mistakes, because to err is human.

[quote=Crusader]There needs to be a minimum age. Grade 7 might work, although 9th grade might be best…
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The parish I attend is under the Institute of Christ the King so all Masses are in Latin(Tridentine). There are boys as young as 8 serving Low Masses there and they do a beautiful job.

[quote=Marauder]That’s your opinion, not anything else. I have seen some real young kids doing the job better and more reverently then the teenagers.

What is the purpose of the ministry? To assist the priest and to foster a possible priestly vocation.

When is better to start trying to instill a possible priestly vocation? As soon as possible or wait until they reach high school?

I think it is better to start early before the distractions of high school start.

You train the kids but you have to be prepared for them to make mistakes, because to err is human.
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The best altar servers I have ever seen were not “real young kids.” Quite the opposite. Some of the worst altar servers I have ever seen are “real young kids.”

[quote=Crusader]The best altar servers I have ever seen were not “real young kids.” Quite the opposite. Some of the worst altar servers I have ever seen are “real young kids.”
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Not to pick on you, Crusader, but anyone alse could say just the opposite. When I’ve seen young boys not doing a good job, the impression I got was that they were scared or had “stage-fright”. Older boys who don’t do a good job seem bored or have a “rather be somewhere else” type of look on their face. I guess the key is in the training and what we expect out of our boys. Maybe give them higher ideals to live up to.

Unfortunately our diocese is very liberal, in fact if our Bishop had his way he would have women priests. I picked altar servers that are men or boys that have had training. Mind you I must confess that my daughter was an altar server but that was before I was convinced that it is better not to do so. (Please refrain from throwing your tomatoes):nope: My biggest problem is altar servers that do not sing or pray the prayers. It’s as if they are just robots. I have seen adult servers do this also. Are they not part of the congregation?

Moe

[quote=Crusader]The best altar servers I have ever seen were not “real young kids.” Quite the opposite. Some of the worst altar servers I have ever seen are “real young kids.”
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And who’s fault is that:
the kid’s? Maybe
the priest’s? Maybe
both? Probably

In any ministry you are good to have your good apples and your bad ones. Just because someone might be bad at first doesn’t mean they can’t improve. If they are constantly bad the priest should give the kid more training. If the kid never responds they should be removed from the ministry. Nobody has a right to be an altar boy. Just because a few kids at a certain age don’t do the job right doesn’t mean you get rid of them all.

Since I see a lot of teenagers do the job wrong does that mean we have to have an upper age limit. With your lower age limit and this upper age limit there would be no altar servers.

[quote=Marauder]And who’s fault is that:
the kid’s? Maybe
the priest’s? Maybe
both? Probably

In any ministry you are good to have your good apples and your bad ones. Just because someone might be bad at first doesn’t mean they can’t improve. If they are constantly bad the priest should give the kid more training. If the kid never responds they should be removed from the ministry. Nobody has a right to be an altar boy. Just because a few kids at a certain age don’t do the job right doesn’t mean you get rid of them all.

Since I see a lot of teenagers do the job wrong does that mean we have to have an upper age limit. With your lower age limit and this upper age limit there would be no altar servers.
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There will always be altar servers – so long as people are willing to make the investment in recruiting and training.

All too often the “lack” of altar servers has been used as an excuse for some rather heterodox activities…

I use to be an altar server. Now I only do it if they desperately need me or, it’s a special occasion. In my decision of altar servers. It doesn’t matter, just as long as they are called to serve God in a great community. They do have to be trained in a huge way but, it’s great. For the subject of females serving. I would say, go for it if you know you will like it. Don’t do it because your parents tell you but, do it because, you love to help serve your church. As far as age go, you do have to receive communion and, can continue until you die. But, for me, I quit because, I rather let someone else do it.

                                           Anthony Nguyen

Men and boys are fine as long as they are well trained. In my parish almost all of the altar servers are girls with the exception of a father and son…

[quote=Annunciata]Men and boys are fine as long as they are well trained. In my parish almost all of the altar servers are girls with the exception of a father and son…
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That’s sad… what are vocations like, as if I couldn’t guess.

MrS

[quote=MrS]That’s sad… what are vocations like, as if I couldn’t guess.

MrS
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Would you believe only one in more than twenty years!!!

I have always prefered the boys, my boys served until the girls came in. Where I work we only have boys, the girls are sacristans or readers or they bring up the gifts. There are a lot of jobs in the church that the boys do not care to do. My daughter used to come and help me clean the church. She loved it.

I am pleased to see all children raised with the concept of service to the church. In churches where girls are not allowed to serve as altar servers, then other areas of service need to be encouraged. I have no problem with either a priest who restricts service to boys or a priest who allows both boys and girls.

I am sceptical, however, of the idea that allowing girls to serve as altar servers has lead to a decrease in priestly vocations. Where is the evidence of this? Would restricting the role to boys result in priestly vocations florishing? I wish it were so simple. Take the case of Annuciata’s church. Have they had a dramatic increase in girls choosing religious life and have we seen a growth spurt of religious sisters since girls have been allowed to serve?

In my parish we are lucky to have a lot of boys and girls wanting to serve, and because they are trained, and the expectation of reverent behaviour is there and has always been demonstrated, I have never yet seen one who has shown sloppy behaviour. Of course, the odd mistake is made, but that’s human.

There are many still serving in their teens; boys don’t mind serving with girls; there are some quite young ones also doing a good job (they have an older one as chief server)
My favourite altar server (and I don’t mean this to sound remotely patronising) is a boy, now 16, who has Downs Syndrome. He LOVES to serve (or take up the collection) and he is perfectly competent to do so. He often serves with his two younger sisters, and it’s a joy to see how subtly they prompt him if he forgets something, never making him look foolish. I wish all altar servers took such a great degree of pride in serving as he does (not that I have any complaints about our others)
I don’t see them as potential priests or religious, necessarily (too much to hope for, sadly) - I just want them to be involved in the life of the parish every which way they can. They are the future of the parish, so I have no problem with girl servers.

taking your title literally, I prefer the type who have clean hands and hair, wear polished leather shoes rather than ratty sneakers or flip-flops, have a clue what is going on at Mass, wear freshly laundered and ironed cassocks that fit, have learned the responses and basics of how to handle (and when) the various altar vessels, bells etc., know when to light candles and how to carry the processional cross, and stay awake during Mass without fidgeting.

[quote=puzzleannie]taking your title literally, I prefer the type who have clean hands and hair, wear polished leather shoes rather than ratty sneakers or flip-flops, have a clue what is going on at Mass, wear freshly laundered and ironed cassocks that fit, have learned the responses and basics of how to handle (and when) the various altar vessels, bells etc., know when to light candles and how to carry the processional cross, and stay awake during Mass without fidgeting.
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I agree. This is the type of altar server I prefer to see. Being male or female doesn’t matter, as I was an altar server and am female.

The argument is made that one purpose of altar servers is to foster priestly vocations. What about fostering religious vocations for girls? Being an altar server certainly had that effect on me, and I wouldn’t have considered a religious vocation otherwise.

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