30 June 2008

A Tirade Of Abuse After A Hard Week

It was a hard week, honest, but it was punctuated one day by a farewell lunch at Champagne Charlie's underneath Charing Cross station which I left at half past seven after nearly eight hours!

Anyway ...

Four teenage boys who were confirmed asked the curate if they could become altar servers, and he asked them to serve one particular Mass, and while keen, reverent, and obviously trying hard, they were absolutely useless because while they had observed servers serving, they had never been trained. So, the curate asked me to take them in hand.

They have responded very well. We set as our aim that the best served Mass was one at which the congregation was unaware of how many servers there were, and during which the priest was never distracted or made to wait by something he needed's not being at exactly the right place at exactly the right time.

I also introduced, where possible, some of the things altar boys used to do: things like passing the cruet to the priest from the right hand and receiving it back in the left hand; or the triple ring of the bell at the elevation. The curate and the PP like it; the boys are happy (and keen to do more); and the congregation, insofar as it notices the servers any more, approves.

Until the weekend when the person with whom I had a disagreement a couple of weeks ago caught me outside the porch on the way out of Mass and, in a tirade of abuse, told me I was indoctrinating these boys to become Tridentinists, and to be like the priest's servants; for once the modern came to my rescue and I was able to ask why she thought they were called altar servers. "They are there to serve God, not the priest." But it was the three rings of the bell which most riled her: "it's mediaeval" she shouted.

I behaved properly, and didn't enter the discussion. This isn't a madwoman: she is highly educated and has a senior and responsible position. She is a Tabletista and a member of the Bishop's lay advisory group. And I think she is seeing her image of the Church slowly being toppled and knows that there is nothing she can do about it.


the mother of this lot said...

I thought they WERE there to serve the priest. Have I had it wrong all these years?

Tabletista. I like it. Know a couple of those myself.

Londiniensis said...

I admire your longanimity. (I've been longing to use that word in context since re-reading my old Catechism a few weeks ago.)

Perhaps your interlocutor's anger spilt over because she had never as a child been taught to "offer it up".

Mac McLernon said...

The biological solution will soon get this sorted... properly trained teenage boys versus middle-aged tabletista.

No contest.

Sit back, smile sweetly, and watch her sweat it...

FrGregACCA said...

"But it was the three rings of the bell which most riled her: "it's mediaeval" she shouted."

"Yes, ma'am, it is. And.....?

leutgeb said...

You have four teenage boys doing their best to be good Altar Servers and someone's complaining?

the mother of this lot said...

Sandalista. I like that even better.

DECADES of training??? Cheek. (But thanks)!