Sunday, 17 May 2009

Annual Altar Servers' Mass

To the trained eye this photograph could only portray one event in the Cathedral calendar: the annual altar servers' Mass. Servers come from parishes across the Diocese to renew their commitment to service and to celebrate the contribution they make to the Church.

Here Fr Jerome Ainsworth of St Catherine's, Penrith, is reading the Gospel. As can be seen, the servers are dressed as they would be to serve Mass in their own parish; it makes for a fairly colourful scene.

In his homily the Bishop spoke about St Stephen, the patron saint of altar servers. He told the servers that when they serve well Christ speaks through them, and reminded them to always give their full commitment to their service, saying "Our Lord deserves only what is best". The full text of the Bishop's homily can be found on the diocesan website, here.

Following the homily the servers stood to renew their commitment, according to the custom of the altar servers' Guild of St Stephen: "I offer myself to God Almighty, to Blessed Mary our Mother, and to our Holy Patron, Saint Stephen, and I promise to do my best, to serve regularly, with reverence and understanding, for the glory of God, the service of His Church and my own eternal salvation."

Bishop Campbell then blessed copies of the letters of St Paul; this book was chosen to mark the year of St Paul, which ends at the end of next month.

Each of the servers present was then invited to come forward and to collect a copy for them to keep. This gift is intended to thank them for their service, but also to draw them closer to God by their reading His Word. When each had received their copy, Mass continued as usual; refreshments were then provided in the Social Centre.