Sunday, 11 February 2007

Annual Mass for Altar Servers

Servers in the Cathedral Hall listen attentively to their instructions before the Annual Mass for Altar Servers. With huge numbers of children attending, the plannng of this event has to be meticulous. Sadly, the Cardinal was not able to celebrate the Mass, but his place was ably taken by Bishop Bernard Longley, auxiliary in Westminster.

Below, the servers enter the Cathedral, a never ending file of boys and girls in many and varied robes. The servers come from all parts of the Diocese and beyond - I met groups from Leeds (in the north of England) and Wales.

I have a particular soft-spot for this occasion as I used to come to it myself as a young altar server, many years ago now! In those days, our attendance formed part of the Chrism Mass in Holy Week, and the Cathedral was truly crowded. It was the first time I saw Westminster Cathedral, and I remember being overawed by it; a feeling, indeed, that has never left me.

Altar Serving is one of the most important ways the Church can involve young people, and I have always encouraged a large number of servers wherever I have been. I am proud that, at the Cathedral, we have a growing band of boys and girls who serve Mass faithfully every week (with their families!). For these youngsters, this is a wonderful opportunity to grow in love and knowledge of the Mass.
There was a fine turn out of priests. Their red chasubles made for a striking scene; we celebrated a Mass of St Stephen the Martyr, who is the patron of the Guild of Altar servers.

Below, Bishop Bernard is glimpsed amid the clustered columns of the Baldacchino.


Anonymous said...

This looks marvellous!

In my Anglican days I was a server in a very traditional Church and I have a big soft-spot for serving done well.

st columba said...

In the next to last picture, there appears to be an inscription on the floor in front of the steps that lead to the main altar. What is the text?

Administrator said...

The inscription records the visit of Pope John Paul II to the Cathedral in 1982, and notes that he said his first Mass in England here. I'll do a posting on it in May (the anniversary of the visit).

Michael O'Leary said...

Mgr Mark,

Thanks very much for the superb photos & your comments. As always it was a wonderful occasion & many I have spoken to said how much they enjoyed the Mass and Bishop Bernard Longley's homily. Seven servers from my Parish attended & two of them were chosen to serve on the Sanctuary & all of them said it was a great experience.

N&J said...

I'm sure your readers would be charmed to see a photo of you as a young altar server if you have one and weren't to shy to post it!

Administrator said...

n&j: I do, and I will, when I get my scanner up and running!

Ttony said...

"Ours it may not be to suffer
Like St Stephen unto death;
But a service we can render
To our last and failing breath.
Ours to serve our loving Saviour:
Ours to help His sacrifice:
Ours to give Him daily homage:
Till He calls to Paradise."

The third verse of our hymn, when I was a member of the Guild.

Anonymous said...

Mgr Mark,

This mass looks most fun! I sever in my own parish and I have often attended the 5.30pm weekday masses. I have always been interested in the servers and how well they sever. I would love to see a post on the servers in the cathedral. Severs do keep the mass running and are a key feature in the smoothness of a serves.

Administrator said...

A post on servers will certainly be coming up!