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2nd Sunday in Lent

Dear Family in Christ, 

Last Saturday, I had the great joy of taking our altar servers and some of their fathers/uncles/older brothers out for an afternoon of paintball. It was a blessing to gather as brothers in Christ and have some good, clean fun. Despite the cold, we survived, and even got to take home several souvenirs in the form of welts and bruises. 

I’d like to take this opportunity to thank you for your generous material support of our parish, which made this outing possible. Of course, I also want to publicly express my appreciation for the young men who have served at our altar so faithfully over the years. It greatly enhances our worship, and it is a great help to us priests.

Below I have shared the sentiments of the great Pope Saint John Paul II, in his affectionate and profound address to altar servers. I entirely echo his sentiments, and wish to highlight his final point: one of the main purposes of having young men serve at the altar is to encourage them to consider a vocation to the priesthood. A recent study found that, of the newly ordained priests in Canada and the United States, 70% had been altar servers, and cited this experience as among the greatest influences in hearing God’s call to the priesthood. I can personally verify this as true for myself and most of my brother priests.

It’s not a secret that we are lacking in home-grown vocations to the priesthood and consecrated religious life. Obviously, not every young man who begins as an altar server will become a priest- but he will have the chance to see a side of the priesthood he might not otherwise: he will witness (and take part in) the sacred vesting and hidden preparation before Mass; he will hear the quiet prayers during the Mass that even the microphone doesn’t pick up; most of all, he will witness the humanity of the priesthood- that a priest is not an angel dropped out of the sky but an ordinary, imperfect man who despite his unworthiness is called to something beautiful, holy, and extraordinary.

And perhaps, through all this, he will encounter the still small voice of God calling him to an adventure greater than he could ever imagine.

God love you,

Father Daniel

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