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02 December 2013


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Barbara C.

Thankfully, I dodged the altar server issue because my oldest daughter had no desire to even attend the informational meetings. I don't know if I would have let her or not if had wanted to do so.

I understand the arguments for only having male altar servers, but I do wish there was a comparable option for girls.


There is a really nice children's choir at our parish. It is open to both boys and girls, but is mostly girls. My kids (oldest 6 are girls) take it for granted that they will join choir in 3rd grade, after their First Communion. My oldest has now graduated to the Life Teen Choir.
None of our girls has asked about altar serving. Now that we have a boy, I will do my best to encourage him in altar serving, when the time comes. He is only 2, so we have a few years! The choir director may try to recruit him for the choir, though! He might be able to do both with some careful scheduling. We will see when the time comes.

I love the way you've handled this issue, Erin!


My oldest girl is just approaching the altar server age. I generally support the all-boy serving corps, but my parish has both. I can't see forbidding her if she wants to do it.

"The reasons, compelling as they are to me as an adult, are not all that accessible to seven-year-olds."

I think reserving the reading for your daughter is a great idea. While I am very sympathetic, as I said, to boy altar servers, it makes me crazy to see people say the girls should form an altar linen guild as an alternative to serving. While tending the altar linens is a worthy and necessary service, what is a seven year old girl going to think when her brother is serving the altar and she's only allowed to do the laundry? Reading would feel like a real privilege to a child and not getting stuck with a chore.


Altar linen guild?!?!? As consolation prize for not getting to serve Mass?

Bleahrghgh! I've never heard anyone suggest *that* before! That's horrible! I can't think of anything that would tend to *reinforce* the impression that reserving certain roles to males is because of females being second-class citizens.

I mean, more power to the women who like doing that kind of thing, but it takes a certain level of maturity to appreciate the St.-Thérèse-like merits of the quieter, behind-the-scenes sort of service. I don't expect preteens to get that.

(Unless the altar linen guild does like the altar boy corps at our parish and has pool parties and bowling nights. That would certainly help.)

Barbara C.

I've heard the "altar linen guild" thing in the altar server discussion before. I have conflicted feelings about the idea, too.

But it was the "pool parties and bowling nights" that made me most jealous of not being allowed to altar serve. At our school, the altar servers got special time with Brother Tom (and his dog Mr. Frisky) who took them for field days and had a reputation for giving out those gigantic suckers. Plus they got to skip class to work funerals.

(Incidentally, a few of the boys used a funeral as an opportunity to polish off a bottle of wine in the sacristy when no one was looking.)


Unfortunately, events of recent years have made me pretty creeped out by the notion of "special time with Brother Tom and his dog Mr. Frisky."

FTR, the pool parties in recent years are donated to the altar boys by a little old lady parishioner who has a pool in her back yard, and they are chaperoned by dads.


I join you in being creeped out by "special time with Brother Tom and his dog Mr. Frisky."

At the parish of my youth, one of the priests, who is now rightly rotting in jail, had a large pet dog which he used as one of his primary lures.

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