More than 350 altar servers from across the archdiocese gathered for a formation day, themed “Worthy is the Lamb,” at St. John Bosco School October 5 to learn how to serve Mass in ways prescribed by liturgical norms.
The gathering began with a Mass celebrated by Archbishop Gustavo García-Siller, MSpS.
The archbishop began his homily by asking the youth sitting on the gym floor, “What is the Mass? Who knows what it is we are doing here at the Holy Mass?”
After receiving a variety of responses, he praised the altar servers for their good answers, and shared that the truth is that we do not have the ability to fully express how amazing Mass is.
“We are here with Jesus at the foot of heaven, worshipping God in union with the whole Church, including everyone in heaven and all the angels. That is amazing, isn’t it?” he smiled. “Jesus has revealed to us the glory of the mysteries of heaven, just like he said in the Gospel.”
Archbishop Gustavo told the young men and women that they were gathered at St. John Bosco that morning because they have been called to serve at Christ’s holy altar, and that the Church was grateful for their service.
The archbishop acknowledged that it can be easy to lose sight of the amazing gift of the Mass, saying that we go to Mass every Sunday and some may even go during the week or even every day; while seminarians, priests, religious women and men, and many of the lay people in attendance at the training know about going to Mass every day. “Sometimes, though, when we go to Mass again and again, it can start to become ‘ordinary’ to us,” he conceded. “But this is never true. The Mass is never ordinary.”
Jesus talks about the truth He shares saying, “Many prophets and kings desired to see what you see, but did not see it, and to hear what you hear, but did not hear it.”
In the same way, many people crave to come close to God like we get to do here at Mass, but they do not have the chance, emphasized Archbishop Gustavo, saying that every time we come to Mass we receive a gift that we cannot even fully understand. “So, today I ask you, dear altar servers of the archdiocese, to renew your love for the Mass and for your service at the altar.”
The San Antonio prelate then shared the words of the Holy Father Pope Francis when the pontiff met with 60,000 altar servers from around the world last year: “There is no need for lots of words; more important are your actions, your closeness, your desire to serve, gazing before the Most Blessed Sacrament. In this way, you will also help others to see how beautiful the community of believers is because the Lord dwells in its midst.”
He urged the servants of the altar of God to take the pope’s words to heart. “You can help the Church see God more clearly as you serve. You can show your love for God in the Holy Mass and help the Church love Him more as you serve,” the Missionary of the Holy Spirit featured. “It is a beautiful ministry, and we thank you so much for saying yes.”
Archbishop Gustavo highlighted that the youth should get to know other servers from throughout the archdiocese so that you can be united in service. “I ask Our Lady of Guadalupe to be with you today,” he prayed. “Serve the Lord like she did, and help show people the beauty of God.”
At the conclusion of the service the archbishop blessed attendees with a relic of St. José Sánchez del Río.
Following the liturgy, Father Jonathan Felux, archdiocesan director of Vocations and Seminarians, directed the youth to meet in eight small groups with seminarians to hear segments of theory and experience worship practice.
After lunch, boys and girls were divided to learn more about vocations to the priesthood and religious life.
The young men traveled to Assumption Seminary for a campus tour, to view a short film on a day in the life of a seminarian, and take part in a question and answer session in Our Lady’s Chapel. The young women heard presentations from women religious on the St. John Bosco campus.
Following those activities, the group met again for closing prayer led by Sister Ana Cecilia Montalvo, FSpS, assistant vocation director.