Dear altar servers gathered here with your parents, families and friends – a very warm
welcome to your beautiful Church, St. Mary’s Parish.
It is always a great joy to celebrate with all of you our Altar Servers Appreciation Sunday.
What an inspiring sight you are and what hope you give to your parishes and to the whole
Church! Your joy and enthusiasm for life, your sincerity and openness, your obvious love
of Jesus, tell us of the older generations something very important.
The Church is ever young. And not just because “Jesus is the same yesterday, today and
forever” in his Body, the Church (Heb 13:8) but also because of your youthful faith and
love. You remind all of us that the mysteries of God’s Kingdom are revealed to the “little
ones” (cf. Lk 10:21).
As servers at the altar of the Lord you have distinguished yourselves in the love of Jesus
and his people who worship him at Holy Mass. That’s why you are being honoured today.
But you are not alone in the Church. There are so many other people who are walking with
you, who are accompanying you in your service of the altar.
And to you dear parents, I personally wish to express my gratitude for being witnesses to
the Catholic faith in your home and handing it on to your children. I know that, not without
considerable sacrifice, you support your son or daughter’s desire to serve at the altar. Thank
you for all you are doing to foster in your children a love of Jesus, of prayer and of the
Mass, especially by praying together as a family and receiving the sacraments together.
Without your example and encouragement they would not be here.
Allow me to offer you just three short reflections that I hope you will keep in mind.
First of all, remember that being an altar server means something much more than helping
the priest during the celebration of Mass. It also means that you are someone very special to
Jesus, for he is the One you are really serving. You are his friend. He knows who you are;
he knows you by name and he is happy that you have chosen to serve him at his altar where
his Sacrifice on the Cross becomes present and the bread and wine become his Body and
In the albs or robes you wear while serving recall that you are a child of God, that you have
put on Christ Jesus.
Being close to Jesus and knowing him in the celebration of the Eucharist through your
service at the altar, enables you to open yourselves to others, to serve them as well. I very
much like the priest’s final words at Mass when he says, “Go in peace, glorifying the Lord
by your life.” You serve Jesus in his Body present at Mass and, because of that experience,
you are equipped to serve him in others, to help build a society which glorifies him or, as is
more often said, “to make the world a better place” – as God wants it.
Secondly, I urge to be attentive to prayer. Just as we enjoy the company of our friends and
like to spend time with them, so too we need to spend time in conversation with Jesus,
above all by listening to him in our hearts.
Jesus loves you and he understands you. He wants you to trust him as your friend, to know
that you can talk to him in prayer just like you talk to your close friends. He is the one
friend who will never give up on you. He is the greatest and most faithful Companion
imaginable. Jesus knows us and loves us; he forgives us, shares our difficulties with us and
supports us with his grace.
Being a server allows you to listen carefully to his Word as it is proclaimed in the Scriptures
read at Mass. “Let me give you some advice: the Gospel which you hear in the liturgy, read
it again to yourself, in silence, and apply it to your life; and with Christ’s love, received in
Holy Communion, you can put it into practice.” (Pope Francis, Meeting with German Altar
Servers August 5, 2014).
And lastly, remember that God has a unique plan for your life. He has something definite in
mind for you that is unique. You all have a vocation or “calling.” Most of you he will call,
like your parents, to the holy sacrament of Matrimony. But some of you, I am certain, he is
calling to the priesthood or the consecrated life as a brother or sister. Don’t be afraid if you
hear his voice, if he stirs up in you such a desire. Remember that the Lord wants you to be
happy, for Jesus came that we might “have life in abundance” (cf. Jn 10:10) – a good life.
What a beautiful gift it is to experience God’s call to be a priest or a religious. Do not be
afraid to answer that particular call if it is meant for you.
Do not forget that it is always God who makes the first move in our life. God is the one who
draws close to us before we draw close to him. He is the one who calls, for we cannot call
ourselves. I only encourage you to pay attention to his voice, and then to respond to Jesus,
saying, “Here I am! Send me” (Is 6:8). “I have come to do your will” (Heb 10:9).
Listen carefully, then, to Jesus’ voice in your hearts. Even if it is just a gentle whisper, do
not ignore it; but welcome it and nourish it. And then, when you are old enough, act on it.
Too much delay and putting it off is never a good idea!
Thank you for serving with such care and joy at the Lord’s altar and for making of this
service a real school of learning the faith, and charity toward your neighbour. Be proud of
what you do – and do it well, because you are doing it for the Lord, he who comes to us
now as we continue our celebration of the Eucharist.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank Principal of St. Mary’s Catholic School,
Beaverloge, all the teachers, our parish pastoral staff and Parents.
Peace and Blessings!
Father Michael Dias