By returning to more demanding altar server practices, two men were able to
increase participation in the altar server program at Holy Family from 10 to more than 80.
"Altar serving at Holy Family allows boys to be more fully integrated into the Mass
and gives them a chance to experience Christ's sacrifice up close.
Holy Family provides an environment that makes them feel welcome and necessary, and is an excellent experience". -Carson Lind, 19 years old (seven-year altar serving veteran)
Bob Spinharney and Mark Rode, parishioners of Holy Family, wanted to see more boys actively involved in the Mass. They felt that being an altar server could help boys participate more fully and possibly discern a priestly vocation. Both men had served in all-boy altar server programs as boys and remembered the experience with fondness. They wanted to share this experience with the boys at Holy Family.
In 2000, Bob and Mark approached the then-pastor of Holy Family, Father Dufner, and shared their vision with him. They proposed making the program for boys only, believing this change would increase their participation in the program. Father Dufner agreed it was a good idea. Next, they worked on creating a more reverent and uniform look by using cassocks and surpluses and by buying uniform footwear. Finally, Bob and Mark trained the boys in the traditional roles of altar servers. They instituted titles and a system of ranks, which made the program more challenging and appealing. With all these stricter guidelines, the program has grown tremendously.
Since the program began 10 years ago, it has grown from 10 participants to more than 80. There is a wide range of ages involved, giving older boys the chance to mentor younger ones.
Read "Boys Will Be Altar Boys" in the January 25-31, 2009, issue of The National Catholic Register in which Holy Family's program was featured.
Note: Boys must be 10 years of age or older before they join.