We are all called to serve God and His Church. Each of us has to share his/her talents by serving other people. An altar server is a “person who serves the parish community … and assists the community to celebrate the sacred liturgy that is to worship God. Through the sharing of his talents and by the graceful and reverent way that [he] performs his tasks, he contributes to the spirit of prayer and worship… Thus, knowing what to do is important” (Serving At The Altar: A Manual For Altar Servers, p.1). With these in mind, an altar server must have enough knowledge in knowing the task of being a server at the altar.

I was assigned as a coordinator or facilitator of the altar servers in the seminary. At first, I thought it would be an easy task for me since I was an altar server but I was wrong. We invited children to join. Many responded but unfortunately only six remained. I asked them what reason that motivates them to be altar servers? They have different and yet simple answers that an adult might not understand. There are things that grown-ups would not understand that only a child-like heart will.

I was enthusiastic to handle the alter servers and felt glad in welcoming our little children who joined the ministry in the seminary. These little children are the future of the Church and a good model in inheriting the Kingdom of God because of their attitude as Jesus said: “Let the children come to me and do not stop them, because the Kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these. He placed his hands on them and then went away” (Mt. 19: 14-15). I am grateful for their parents for letting their sons to join in the ministry and for entrusting the care of their children to us. Altar servers are called in the service first and foremost of God, secondly as help to the clergy, and thirdly as assistance to the people who have gathered for worship.

I gave formation to the would-be altar servers as good as I can because their attitude is somehow lies on my hands. I am trying to train them patiently and diligently for them to be qualified as a true server. These little children were from different family background though they came from the same place. I tried my best to fit to their culture since I was raised in a different culture as I say. It was not too difficult for me to deal with them since I almost stayed here for more than four years but I was careful knowing that children have a soft heart that can easily get hurt and there are things that sometimes I do not understand.
As part of their formation, an altar server must know sacred objects, vestments, parts of the mass and the like. Serving at the altar is not an easy responsibility, it needs knowledge and discipline. It needs knowledge to know the things regarding serving in the Church and discipline to act respectfully and reverently in the Church that can be seen by other people. An altar server must bear in mind that they are serving in the Church where people gather around to do the communal worship to God. Serving at the altar is not an easy task because people can see the servers knowing that they knew the right conduct and correct attitude inside the Church that is why knowledge and discipline are necessary requirements for an altar server.

I have been taught that when you are an altar server, you are always an altar server wherever you go. An altar server must be carrying always an image of a “servant” in the Church. “Serving is more than helping others. It is about who and what you are. It is a living out of our baptism as the people of God and those united to Jesus Christ” (Serving At The Altar: A Manual For Altar Servers, p.1). The life of a child serving at the altar is a new way of living the life of Jesus in a way that he is always available at the service of the people. An altar server should carry out this newness of life not only inside the church but also in school, at home, at play and wherever he goes; it is how we live, treat and serve other people. Being an altar server is a great privilege for a child to be called in the ministry of serving the Church and in the church. As scripture says, “Many are called but few are chosen,” this is an invitation of God especially to kids who want to be part of the servants in the church.

Service can be done everywhere but true service cannot be easily seen everywhere. Without love, service is “no more than a noisy gong or a clanging bell” (1 Cor. 13:1). If a person is always serving but have no love, “he is nothing” (1 Cor. 13:2). True service can be seen through the love it contains in every work. Serving is not only doing good for ourselves but for God through the life of Jesus as it is written in the Scripture: “Everything you do or say, then, should be done in the name of the Lord Jesus, as you give thanks through Him to God the Father” (Col. 3:17).Altar servers are servants of Jesus Christ and being Jesus for others around us. We show our gratitude by our faithful service to Him. This is a true service and a faithful servant.