Back at our old parish Saturday night, the young miss commented that she missed being an altar server. It’s been three-and-a-half years, and she’s still thinking about that? Some of my readers here know my current parish does not have altar servers. Some duties are covered by the sacristan. And most often, the presider holds his own Roman Missal for the prayers.
I asked a friend what was up with the six servers at an otherwise ordinary Saturday night Mass. Six chairs were clustered around the presider’s: one on his left, two on his right, and three behind.
My own sense is that more is not necessarily merrier. Two competent altar servers are usually able to handle most anything thrown their way at an ordinary Sunday Mass. For a kid who has one-third of that job, I’d wonder about her or him staying sharp for the whole Mass. Deacon Greg reported fifty or more servers at his parish’s Midnight Mass. Count me a skeptic on that. New Year’s Eve, our hosts put out those delicious cocoa-dusted almonds. I confess I ate about a dozen, but really: wouldn’t two or three have served me just as well?
Sit in the purple chair and assign altar servers, if you will. Are big numbers a matter of inclusion, participation, pomp, or gluttony?