Altar Server Mass Draws Nearly 900 People

It was an angelic scene at the Cathedral of St. Catharine of Siena in Allentown on April 13, as 288 altar servers from 78 parishes, across the five counties in the Diocese processed in for a special Mass honoring their service.

“It was an honor to come here, to be with all the altar servers and to get to be part of something like this,” said 16-year-old Emily Walsh of St. Joseph the Worker, Frackville.

Ricardo Rivera, parishioner of St. Peter the Apostle, Reading, drove his 16-year-old daughter, Hannah, to the Mass. He said the Bishop’s invitation warmed his heart. “I didn't expect him to have this for them today and it’s very good that he’s doing this.”

Seminarians from the Diocese, along with some deacons who are getting ready for their ordination, served the Mass. Some Diocesan priests also participated by concelebrating.

Speaking to a congregation of nearly 900 people, Bishop Alfred Schlert thanked the parents of the servers for their commitment in encouraging their children to serve the Church. He also reminded the servers what a gift it is to stand at the foot of the altar at Mass.

“In this holiest part of the church, whatever church it is, it’s the priest, the deacon, and the altar server. Isn't that an amazing thought that as an altar server you are closest to the altar? And therefore, closest to Jesus? Because Jesus becomes present in the altar.”

“And you're in a place where most people don’t get to go. And yet the Church gives you that privilege even though you’re very young. The Church wants young people around the altar, to be closest to Jesus. Because you’re at a stage in your life where you also have to speak to Jesus very carefully about what it is He wants you to do with your life. We call that our vocation. Our vocation could be to the married life, it could be to the Priesthood, it could be to the Religious Life.”

At the conclusion of the Mass, those in attendance were invited to join the Bishop at a reception where they enjoyed light refreshments and the opportunity to have their picture taken with him to commemorate the day.

Photos by Norm Steinruck.