Friday, July 10, 2009

Altar Boys

As a mother to two boys, I have long thought of how proud I would be if one day either or both of them might join the procession at Holy Mass as altar boys. Well, that day might just be in sight! Today I received a call from our Oratory Sacristan who wished to schedule a time for meeting with interested boys, and to begin training them to serve.

My boys are very excited about this! And so am I, though admittedly I am not a little bit apprehensive, simply because I know my boys! Can these two, who are perpetual motion--squared--at home, actually sit in the choir stalls as still as potted plants for the duration of a solemn high mass--often the better part of two hours?? I see other boys their ages fulfilling such service every Sunday, but can mine do the same? I am hopeful, but I will certainly implore Our Lord and Lady in this! And I need to find out soon who is the patron saint of altar boys (anyone care to save me the googling?)

But concerned though I might be, I did find some encouragement from a mother of many sons, who perhaps felt as I did when her oldest boys first processed in to Holy Mass. Just this week I got a book of poetry by Hilary McRee Flanery, also known as Long-Skirts (a link to her poetry blog is here, or on the blog list on the right). In her lovely book A Breath of Home, there is a poem entitled Five Sons wherein she observes the transformation of her active, loud, raucous boys into still, quiet and serene altar boys:

Five Sons

Today, five sons,
Served on the altar.
Determined boys
Who would not falter.

Boys, at home,
Who fight and shove
But on the altar
Assist with love.

At home shouting,
From top of lung.
On the altar,
Latin’s sung.

At home running
Can’t sit still.
On the altar
Disciplined will.

At home throwing
Cereal, toast.
On the altar
Adoring Host.

At home bedrooms,
Scattered scene.
On the altar
Order, serene.

I, proud, mother,
Faithful to Rome,
Five sons on the altar,
Five men at home.

Thank you, Long-Skirts! This is my hope and prayer for my two sons, that indeed they will honor Our Lord as altar boys, and that the coming weeks will be just the beginning of many years of service for them at the Altar of Our Lord.


Sharon said...

The patron saint for Altar Servers is St. John Berchmans. My son prays to him before each Mass that he serves at DeSales.

I'm so excited for your boys -- and you! I know how you feel because I sometimes tear up when my son holds the paten below my chin when I receive Communion or when I see him processing in so solemnly. Don't worry too much about your active boys; Abbe will do a wonderful job instructing them. I'm sure they'll sense the seriousness of the occasion.

HSMom said...

Thank you Sharon! I knew I should know that. We knew a good Frater (of the Canons Regular of the New Jerusalem, now in Rome studying for the priesthood) who had taken John Berchmans as his religious name, but I completely forgot he is patron of Altar Servers.

Your son is one of those boys I was thinking of when I posted. All of the boys do so well at the Oratory. Thanks for the words of encouragement. I can only imagine a moment like you describe when receiving Holy Communion. One day!

deogratias said...

We just recently had the overwhelming joy of watching 2 of our 5 sons serve in choir for the first time at St. Francis de Sales. I will tell you that my feelings were much the same as yours, wondering as a mother does if they would act as we've taught them or have ants in their pants. So far, it seems they're doing well. They have now served in choir for 3 Sundays in a row and each time I have teared up seeing my boys in cassocks. I feel so blessed to have 5 sons (no daughters yet)all of which could potentially be priests if God so wills it. I hope and pray that one day I can receive our Blessed Lord from one of them. They are thoroughly enjoying serving and can't wait until the next time they get to do it. Unfortunately, we live 2.5 hours away so we only get to attend on Sundays. We are sure that they are learning from the best at the Oratory. Good luck to you and the new altarboys.

HSMom said...

Deogratias, thank you for your kind words. It's comforting to know I'm not the only mom with these worries! It seems that the boys do seem to really rise to the occasion though. I look forward to our boys becoming acquainted with the other servers. God bless your sons, and may your prayer--one I share--one day be answered!

Anonymous said...

I too have a son who serves and to see him pay such close attention, such have revence at the altar makes me wonder who he is somedays. He too always had a hard time sitting still, especially thru math lessons, but they almost transform on the altar. He has been serving for a while now and I am proud of him. And the poem, 'Five Sons' says it perfectly... MR