For some reason, I never became an alter server as a kid.
Next year I will be a college freshman at a college where there is a very active Catholic Center. I assume alter servers will be needed, and there won’t be any young kids around to do that. So, would it be weird to ask the priest if I could learn to be an alter server?
Not at all. Actually, I heard once that, originally, altar servers were originally supposed to be seminarians, anyway. Parishes just used young boys because (a) they didn’t have seminarians assigned to them, and (b) they could still (possibly) grow up to become priests. Eventually, in the 80’s, they allowed girls/women to be altar servers.
Just so you know, since you are going to college, many Catholic Centers/Newman Centers/Student Parishes have very few (if any) families with young children, and so the altar servers (and all other liturgical ministers) are generally students. Also, every parish (and sometimes, even different priests at the same parish) has its own norms about what the altar servers (and the other liturgical ministers) are expected to do - and whether they are to wear albs, cassocks/surplices, or simply street clothes. As such, even if you had been trained at another parish growing up, you would have had to be retrained for that particular parish, anyway.
Most of the altar servers in the parish I attended were adults, from ages 50 to 75 and even 80. They also have some that are children/youth, but they are unreliable and few and far between in a retirement area. So I think it is up to the priest who is saying the mass, the priest that was at the parish last was happy to use the adults.
I would recommend checking with the Catholic group at the college you’ll be at. See what their norms are. The Newman group at my college just has a student as the server because the only people who attend Mass are students and some faculty.
Definitely look for the opportunity to serve Mass if you can regardless of your age (because it would be wonderful). But the priest has every right to allow or not allow you to serve at his Mass, just to let you know.
[quote="Usige, post:4, topic:331475"]
Really? I'd estimate that 80 - 90% of the altar servers in the diocesan parishes around me are girls between 8 and 11. I rarely see young male altar servers outside of the FSSP parish. ;)
To the OP there really isn't an age limit. We regularly have men in their 50s or 60s server at daily mass. I know one that never served as a child since he converted in his late 30s.
Here in the Philippines girls are not permitted to be altar servers or EMHC's.
I’m a Canadian girl, age 27. I became an Altar Server last year in June. We have Altar servers in our parish that range from age 8 to late 60’s. The oldest one we ever had in there was 85 and he just stopped last year as his balance started to deteriorate.
Vince Lombardi, the well known Green Bay Packer coach in the 1960s was an altar server almost up until the day he died. There is no upper age limit as to when you can start. There is normally a lower age limit as to how old one has to be to start training.
In fact, when there is nobody else around to help at Mass, I know a few older gentlemen who take it upon themselves to be altar servers (they are about 50 years old).
I think the only thing holding you back is your own shyness or inhibition at being the only mature person up there surrounded by young children. However, that doesn’t seem to bother the Sacristans, Lectors, Eucharistic Ministers, etc who are also up on or around the altar.
Go for it. Just consider yourself one of the helpers at Mass if you are not comfortable with the title of “Altar Server.”
Oh, one other thing.
As you know, there is a decent chance that the Catholic Center does not allow female altar servers.
Not sure if you are female or not, but if so…it’s something to keep in mind just in case they say you cannot be an altar server…