Sunday, November 8, was Altar Server Appreciation Day in the Diocese of Raleigh. Approximately 275 altar servers and their families attended a Mass in recognition of the role they serve in liturgies throughout the Diocese. The Most Reverend Michael F. Burbidge expressed his gratitude, noting how impressive it was to see so many altar servers gathered in one place. Several parishes rented buses to accommodate their attendees.
In expressing gratitude to the altar servers, Bishop Burbidge reminded them that “God has placed great trust in you the privilege of service at the altar,” adding, “For it is at the altar that we see the greatest of miracles.”
Each altar server received a crucifix, blessed by the Bishop, who told them it is to remind them “that all who wish to serve Christ will also at times be asked to carry His cross. The crucifix reminds you,” Bishop Burbidge continued, “that Jesus is with you at every moment of your life, most especially when you are in need.” Many of the servers were wearing their crucifix when they approached to receive the Eucharist.
The Bishop encouraged the young people to ask the Lord how He wants them to serve Him. He told them, “Whatever God asks of you, say ‘yes.’”
At the conclusion of Mass, the altar servers, many wearing their cassocks and surpluses, recited the Altar Server Prayer. A reception followed the Mass, with altar servers and their families sitting at tables and on the grounds of Cardinal Gibbons High School where the Mass was celebrated. Originally, the liturgy was scheduled to be held at St. Luke the Evangelist Church in Raleigh, but because of the size of the response, it was moved to a larger location to accommodate the more than 1,000 people who attended, representing approximately 40 parishes.
In addition to the Mass celebrated in Raleigh, the Diocese will hold a Spring Altar Server Day Appreciation Mass on March 7, 2010 at Saint Gabriel Church in Greenville. Invitations will sent out in January.
Above: Bishop Michael F. Burbidge presenting a crucifix to one of 275 altar servers attending an appreciation Mass for their generosity and service in assisting at liturgical celebrations.
Below: A group of altar servers reciting the Altar Servers Prayer at the conclusion of Mass.