Altar Server Explains His Role, What It Means to Him


Ben Wolcanski, Staff Writer, Advanced Journalism

With Easter and the Triduum that precedes it, I have been in the middle of what I call: “The busiest time ever for an altar server.” Over the past week I have served six masses, and it has not bothered me one bit. 

I have been an altar server for almost seven years now, and I have never grown tired of it. I first started as a server all the way back in fifth grade at St. Agnes Parish here in Green Bay and since then I have been serving for St. Agnes and St. Francis Xavier Cathedral in downtown Green Bay. 

Both of my parents and my brother were altar servers before me, and I had always been intrigued by the altar servers at mass, so it was a no-brainer decision to sign up when it came time for the fifth-graders to be trained as altar servers. I had thought that it would be fun. and I was definitely right. I started off serving both Saturday mornings and evenings with the mornings helping me gain experience without the pressure of being a big mass.

As I gained more experience, I started branching out and signing up for special masses. Masses like Confirmations would lead me to the next big step for my being an altar server, becoming a Pontifical server.

A Pontifical server is a server who serves for a bishop, and I have been serving for Bishop David Ricken for about six years now. That is the big show and happens to normally be the most fun masses to serve of them all. 

At first, serving at the Cathedral was intimidating. Before being a Pontifical server, I had never really been to the Cathedral and did not know what the building itself was like. However, I quickly got over my nerves and enjoyed the grandiose masses that take place there. 

Besides having fun during the mass, serving has helped me deepen my faith. While serving you have to be alert and paying attention to what is going on during the mass to understand what is happening and if you need to do something to make sure the mass runs smoothly and that has helped me pay more attention to what is being said during the mass.

Serving has also taught me patience and discipline by waiting and keeping calm in the case that something goes wrong. Most importantly, it has also taught me how to sit still and be quiet when it counts.

I am forever thankful that I made the decision to be an altar server, and I never regret how busy it can sometimes make my life. I would never trade it for anything, and I highly recommend it to anyone who has any interest in how the mass works or wants to get a closer view of the mass. 

Altar serving is one of the most fun things that I love to participate in, and I always look forward to the next mass.