As we near the canonization of John Paul II on Sunday, I recollect on how he influenced my life. When I first started serving was under his pontificate, and I remember always being amazed at the ways in which he celebrated the Mass and the seminarians, servers, and priests who served his Masses. It was very inspirational to me and by his witness I kept serving and growing closer to Christ. He speaks of the Altar Server as being not a “helper of the parish priest” but as a “server of Jesus Christ…the eternal High Priest.” He goes on to explain that servers are to be young friends of Jesus. I thank God for Fr. Bruce Fogle, first inviting my brother and I to start serving, for Fr. Cash, Jimbo, Mitch, and the now Deacon Will and Fr. Josh for teaching me how to serve and nurturing my love of the Liturgy. And for Fr. Baker for always letting my brother and I serve at St. Ann. Being an Altar Boy inspired my vocation. Growing up as a young boy with Pope John Paul II as pope, inspired my vocation. What inspires yours? How can you inspire more? Invite a young man to consider serving, invite him to draw near to our Sacred Lord, who will let him soak up his love and become a true friend of Jesus.
“The altar server occupies a privileged place in the liturgical celebration. He who serves at Mass, presents himself to a community. He experiences firsthand that Jesus Christ is present and active in every liturgical act. Jesus is present when the community comes together to pray and render praise to God. Jesus is present in the Word of sacred Scripture. Jesus is present above all in the Eucharist under the signs of bread and wine. He acts through the priest who, in the person of Christ, celebrates the holy Mass and administers the sacraments.
Therefore, in the liturgy, you are much more than simple “helpers of the parish priest.” Above all, you are servers of Jesus Christ, of the eternal High Priest. Thus, you, altar servers, are called in particular to be young friends of Jesus. Be determined to go deeper and to cultivate this friendship with him. You will discover that in Jesus you have found a true friend for life.” – JPII