Altar servers in adoration of the Eucharist. Photo: REMI D’SOUZAAltar servers in adoration of the Eucharist. Photo: REMI D’SOUZA

A visiting priest recently reminded altar servers from across Singapore about their call to be witnesses of Christ and offered them advice to grow in holiness in the journey of faith.

Redemptorist Fr Joseph Royan from Bangalore, India, who was in Singapore to conduct the Archdiocesan Youth Rally, spoke to about 160 altar servers between 13 to 18 years old at an altar servers’ recollection at Church of the Risen Christ on Nov 15.

Serra Club of Singapore together with the Catholic Archdiocesan Youth Centre organised the half day affair with the theme Prayer and Evangelisation – Serving Beyond the Altar to encourage the altar servers to reflect on their calling, serving at and beyond the altar so as grow in love of God, in holiness through prayer and service, bring Christ to others through evangelisation and to be open to the call of the priestly vocation, the organisers said.

Calling the altar servers “blessed” and “chosen” to serve at God’s altar, Fr Royan reminded them that they are “first and foremost called to be witnesses of Christ” who can touch the lives of others.

Their service at the altar is visible to and respected by the congregation, he said.

He urged them “to be careful” in how they live their lives, and also encouraged the altar servers to make a difference in the world out there – in their families, schools, and shopping malls.

“It is not enough just to serve the Lord at the altar. You need to take the Lord back to wherever you’re going,” he said, as they have “experienced the Lord at the altar”.

For example, they could tell their hurting parents or friends that Jesus loves them.

He also praised them for the time and dedication in serving the Lord.

Fr Royan also offered the altar servers some insight on how to grow in holiness.

He told the altar server to spend some time daily in personal prayer with God to build up a relationship with Him; to read the bible daily or the daily Gospel reading; to participate in the sacraments frequently especially that of the Sacrament of Reconciliation; to keep a spiritual journal and to have a spiritual director – either a priest or a lay person close to God. He also encouraged the altar servers to have a devotion to Mary by praying the rosary daily.

The priest also encouraged the altar servers to respond to the vocation of the priesthood or as lay people. He said that “God does not call the worthy, He makes worthy the call”.

“He does not call the equipped but He equips the call. He does not call the qualified, but He qualifies the call. He does not call us because we are good, but of what He calls us is good,” Fr Royan said.

In addition, Fr Royan said that in deciding on one’s vocation in the priesthood, one should examine their gifts and talents to decide on the diocesan priesthood or the Religious order to enter.

The programme continued with small group sharing amongst the altar servers, followed by Fr Samuel Lim sharing his vocation story. The recollection ended with Eucharistic adoration, benediction and blessing of the altar servers.

Lorenzo Mailum, 13, Blessed Sacrament Church, said he attended the recollection out of interest as he wanted to do something useful during the school holidays.

He added that he found Fr Royan’s talk inspiring and that he intends to start a spiritual journal to improve his spiritual life.

Majellan Emmanuel, 16, Church of St Francis of Assisi, told CatholicNews that he intends to start a spiritual journal to keep track of his journey with the Lord and his encounters with Him.

As one of the senior members among the altar boys, he said he hopes to instil a habit of spiritual preparation amongst the altar servers by reflecting on the day’s Gospel and praying the rosary before Mass as well as to inculcate a deep desire to serve at Mass out of one’s accord.

By Darren Boon
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