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A REORIENTATION TO THE ALTAR

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... and the lay helpers in a group that is often called 'the minor order' ... Archbishop Emeritus of the Arabian Peninsula and Kuwait, His Excellency Giuseppe ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: A REORIENTATION TO THE ALTAR


1
A REORIENTATION TO THE ALTAR
  • Privilege, not a Right.

2
THE ALTAR SERVERS SODALITYSince 1966 Holy
Family CathedralKuwait City
  • Spiritual Director Sylvester Dsouza
  • Head of Altarservers Myronne Dsouza

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  • For hundreds of years, service at the Altar
    has brought about countless priestly vocations.
  • In the words of the Archbishop of Westminster
    Bernard Cardinal Griffen, "To serve at the altar,
    and sing in the choir, is next to the priesthood
    the highest privilege which a human can enjoy.
    Those sacred ceremonies should be carried out
    with devotion, dignity and attention to detail."

5
WHO IS AN ALTAR SERVER?
  • An altar server is a lay assistant to a member
    of the clergy during a religious service.
  • The word altarboy or altarserver or more
    officially acolyte is derived from the Greek
    word akolouthos, which means 'attendant'.
  • The term altar server, which was also in use, has
    almost completely replaced altar boy, because,
    with the permission of the diocesan bishop, girls
    may now be allowed to serve in this capacity
    besides, an increasing number of adults serve at
    the altar.
  • Altar servers perform most of the functions of
    the former Minor Order" of ordained clerics
    (acolytes).
  • The term "altar boys" should always be replaced
    by "servers".

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POSITION IN THE HIERARCHY
  • As an altarserver is un-ordained and plays a
    role primarily at the youth level, he comes in
    one of the last levels of the church
    structurewith the Eucharistic Ministers and the
    lay helpers in a group that is often called "the
    minor order".
  • Pope ? Cardinals ? Archbishops and Bishops ?
    Priests ? Deacons ? Eucharistic Ministers ?
    Lectors ? Altar servers
  • Therefore, for many who want to ascend higher
    into the ladder and one day be chosen to serve
    God, serving at the Altar is the first way to
    start. So it may be the last, but it is certainly
    one of the most important.
  • Even Popes have been altarboys, since time
    immemorial.

8
A SODALITY
  • so dal i - ty  
  • A sodality is defined as an association or
    society in the Roman Catholic Church for lay
    people, for a religious purpose.
  • Altar servers cannot form a community or
    organization. These have entirely different
    meanings.
  • The term should come into immediate effect in
    Kuwait and the Cathedrals altar servers should
    rename themselves as the Altarservers Sodality
    of the Vicariate.

9
OUR PATRON SAINT
  • St. John Berchmans
  • The patron saint of altarboys all over the world.

10
ARE WE ACOLYTES?
  • The Order of Acolyte was conferred on
    seminarians at a minor ordination. After the
    reforms of the Minor Orders in 1972, the Acolyte
    survived but became one of two lay ministries
    (along with that of lector) instead of an Order.
  • In the post-Vatican II Church, an acolyte has
    all the responsibilities of an altar server
    except a few additional ones. The acolyte can
    also act as a Eucharistic Minister and can
    celebrate Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament.
  • While acolytes did not receive the sacrament of
    Holy Orders, they were considered part of the
    clergy, and were a required step on the way to
    Holy Orders. Candidates for the priesthood must
    still receive the "ministries" of lector and
    acolyte before ordination.
  • Altar servers are often called acolytes in
    todays church, and it is mostly permitted.

11
GENUFLECT
  • O come, let us worship and bow down, let us
    kneel before the Lord our Maker! and At the
    name of Jesus, every knee shall bend.
  • Servers can genuflect whenever entering a church
    pew, the sanctuary or crosses in front of the
    tabernacle. The exception is when carrying things
    like crosses, sacred vessels, books or candles
    they do not genuflect.
  • When the Body of Jesus is present on the Altar or
    Jesus is exposed during Eucharistic Adoration, we
    DOUBLE GENUFLECT (both knees touching the floor,
    the right knee first. Pause with knees on the
    floor and bow your head to Jesus).
  • Because the elevation of the Body and Blood of
    Jesus are solemn times, (the bread and wine we
    offered has now become the real BODY and BLOOD of
    Jesus Christ) it is proper to look at the
    elevated Jesus and say to yourself "My Lord and
    my God."
  • Each and every single time the server walks past
    the Tabernacle, he HAS to genuflect on his right
    knee. Bowing is not an option here.

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MALE OR FEMALE SERVERS?
  • Traditionally, the role of altar server has
    always been reserved to males and rightfully so.
    By having males serve at the altar, a young man
    is better able to discern the priesthood since he
    is involved with the Liturgy.
  • Some parishes are even returning to the practice
    of all-male altar servers. Historically, the role
    of altar server has always been reserved to
    males.
  • In 1970 the Vatican condemned female altar
    serving. Not until a circular letter from the
    Congregation for Divine Worship and the
    Discipline of the Sacraments to presidents on
    March 15, 1994, did the Vatican officially allow
    female altar serving.
  • We have to remember the Last Supper and also
    remember Jesus as a male. Sometimes, geographical
    position of the diocese plays a role.

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15
EXTRACTS FROM MANUALS
  • Talking amongst each other is absolutely
    forbidden.
  • An altar server must also learn the proper name
    to all of the items used during the Liturgy. One
    day you may have to teach the rest, or become a
    leader yourself!
  • The altar server must have a basic understanding
    of the Catholic Faith and understand the
    Sacraments, especially the Eucharist. It is an
    eye-opener to see that many candidates have never
    heard of genuflection.
  • Remember, as an altar server, you stand next to
    the priest who stands at the Cross of Calvary. At
    the Consecration, you stand near the altar on
    which the Bread and Wine become Jesus Christ. You
    should humble yourself and bow your head before
    the power of God.

16
  • You are assisting at the Holy of Holies. Display
    reverence and worship Our God. Undoubtedly, altar
    servers receive countless blessings from Almighty
    God from serving devoutly at Mass.
  • Before Mass, when you are waiting for the
    procession to the altar, you should be preparing
    your mind and heart for the sacred duties upon
    which you are about to enter.
  • At the altar your movements should be stately and
    dignified, not hasty or affected.
  • In cases where there is an incense bearer, that
    server will lead the procession (ahead of the
    cross). In Kuwait the Head of Altarboys also
    performs the role of Incensor.
  • All candidates must demonstrate their ability to
    make use of the tools of the trade such as
    matches, candle lighters, books and candles etc.
    On the job training is very important.

17
  • Genuflecting is a form of worship of our God and
    should only be done to Him alone. It would be a
    grave mistake to genuflect to any altar, cross,
    picture or crucifix.
  • Servers should not handle any consecrated bread
    or wine unless specifically directed in any
    situation.
  • Servers must remain in the sanctuary during the
    entire Mass and are not to leave for any reason
    other than illness or the direction of a senior
    server.
  • The wearing of old, unpolished or tattered
    footwear is not tolerated. In any position you
    maintain a straight posture.
  • We bow to the priest because he assumes the
    person of Jesus and we thus need to show him
    honor.
  • The bells are rung three distinct times in honor
    of the Trinity.

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19
THE SODALITY IN KUWAIT
  • In the Vicariate of Kuwait, there have been
    altarboys serving as early as the year 1966, as
    per church records under Msgr. Sanmiguel, the
    second Bishop of Kuwait. This means we are more
    than 40 years old.
  • O T H E R G R O U P S
  • There are two known, smaller altarboy groups in
    the cathedral with which we have no association
    on record.
  • - Filipino altarboy group
  • - Maronite group
  • O T H E R P A R I S H E S
  • Where there is a church, there is an altarboy.
    This is true in the parishes of Salmiya and
    Ahmadi, but then again there is no association on
    record with them.
  • Pontifical masses (with maximum participation)
    are usually held in the Cathedral and our
    sodality has been entrusted with the task of
    service for time immemorial.

20
THE CHURCHS REPRESENTATIVE
  • The altarboys of the Cathedral have, for more
    than a decade, fallen under the able and caring
    guidance of the Deacon Sylvester D'souza. He
    assumes the role of our 'Spiritual Director' and
    helps clear any doubts about the service, or
    handle any complaints that may arise during
    service at the Altar.
  • The Deacon Sylvester has always been the
    spiritual director of the altarboys of the
    cathedral since 1992, and is regarded as a
    paternal figure by all the boys. The Deacon of
    the Cathedral is also responsible for other
    groups of the 'minor order', such as our
    Eucharistic Ministers.
  • A Deacon is the first step towards priesthood,
    and there are permanent Deacons. A permanent
    deacon is not called "Father" as a priest would
    be, but as "Deacon.

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22
HEAD OF ALTARBOYS
  • This is a title that was established in the
    Cathedral in the year 2004. It is the highest
    title awarded to an altarboy of the church, and
    its transfer is governed by strict rules and
    traditions.
  • In the same year, following the installation of
    the 4th Bishop of Kuwait, the community
    established new changes and separated itself from
    the common group of Eucharistic Ministers
    Sacristans. The Deacon was also relieved of most
    additional worries about discipline/training for
    boys.
  • D U T I E S O F A H E A D
  • The fact that the sodality has a leader that
    looks solely into their affairs helps bring
    discipline and a sense of much-need union.
  • Training practical training, 'classroom'
    teaching, explanation of any doubts
  • Communication communicating any new rules or
    policy shifts from higher authorities, ensuring
    their implementation
  • Public relations Being the speaker for the
    boys, handling complaints from parents and
    congregations
  • Leadership unity and leadership, get-togethers,
    seminars, discipline

23
HEADS OVER THE YEARS
  • VIJU VARGHESE
  • ( - 2003)
  • Viju Varghese was the first known leader of the
    altarboys of the Cathedral.
  • Appointed directly by the Deacon to look into
    matters of discipline at the Altar during masses,
    he came to be known as the Altarboy Supervisor.
  • As per the rules at that time, Viju Varghese
    stepped down in 2003 upon reaching his age limit.

24
  • NEWTON FERNANDES
  • (2004-2006)
  • In 2004, the need was felt for a leader, and in
    that year, Newton Fernandes was elevated to the
    post of 'supervisor' by the Deacon.
  • It was not until mid 2005 (at the Installation
    of the Bishop Camillo Ballin) that Newton was
    known as the cathedral's first Head of Altarboys.
  • It was also for the first time that an Assistant
    Head was chosen to help manage the growing
    numbers of altarboys (which had swelled to nearly
    85), and this position was given to Neal Vaz.

25
  • GRACIOUS JOSEPH
  • (2006 2008)
  • By April 2006, Newton Fernandes decided to step
    down to make way for a new leader for the boys as
    he was reaching the end of his tenure.
  • Following an election, debate and the consensus
    of several priests along with the approval of our
    Spiritual Director, Newton announced Gracious
    Joseph as his successor, and Rahul Gomes to be
    the New Assistant Head (as Neal Vaz had also
    stepped down by then).

26
  • On April 15, 2006, in a first-time ever ceremony
    that would mark the start of a long tradition,
    Newton Fernandes formally transferred his title
    to Gracious Joseph in the private ceremony that
    was held in the Bishop's Chapel, before the
    Easter Vigil for the year.
  • The Deacon anointed the new Head with holy water
    and blessed him as well as the outgoing Head, who
    would now be referred to as an 'Emeritus'. A
    laminated Appointment Letter was presented to
    Gracious along with a Letter of Blessings sent
    all the way from Rome by the Archbishop Emeritus
    of the Arabian Peninsula and Kuwait, His
    Excellency Giuseppe de Andrea.
  • As a final start to tradition, Gracious was
    adorn with a new cassock and cross which he would
    wear to all masses during his tenure.

27
ELECTION OF A HEAD
  • It is said that the right leader should be
    chosen to lead such a young flock.
  • Keeping this in mind, it was decided (by the
    most senior altarboys of the sodality in 2005)
    that the Head of Altarboys should be chosen from
    among his own altarboy community and all
    traditions that were introduced in 2006 were to
    be strictly followed.
  • A brief of what happens is on the next slide.

28
  • The existing Head of Altarboys announces the end
    of his tenure in the first week of February.
    Following his announcement, after several months
    of observing his boys, he is to choose 6 Nominees
    (each are to be given a Nomination Statement
    which is to be signed by their families). A
    debate is to be held to ascertain the leadership
    and public speaking skills of the future leaders,
    and on that same day, every single altarboy is
    put to a vote. The results of the vote are not
    revealed to anyone. At this point, the Spiritual
    Director is to be informed of the impending
    resignation.
  • 15 days before the Easter Vigil, the Head is to
    address a gathering of the full altarboy strength
    and in their presence, proclaim the name of his
    successor. He then makes a resignation
    announcement. At no point during the whole
    process are parents or priests involved.
    Following this, the outgoing Head is to introduce
    his choice to the Spiritual Director and the
    Parish Priest. A briefing meeting is to follow
    with the parents of the head-designate.
  • Following two weeks of intensive training for the
    head-designate, he is to be formally handed power
    and responsibility in a private altarboy affair
    one hour before the start of the Easter Vigil.
    The Head of Altarboys will resign one day before
    the Installation Ceremony.

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AGE LIMIT FOR ALTARBOYS
  • The starting age is 10 or First Holy Communion,
    whichever comes first.
  • An Altarboy must stop service at the age of 18.
  • For a Head of Altarboys, Assistant Head or
    Emeritus it is 21.
  • Boys who wish to serve for a few more months
    beyond 18 can give a letter in writing to the
    Head.
  • Visiting boys may be allowed to serve too. A
    letter has to be submitted to the church a few
    days before the specified mass.

31
THE HALL
  • Altarboys follow the exact discipline and
    dress code standards there, and breach of
    discipline is noted and taken seriously.
  • Altarboys there are looked up to by the young
    congregation so their responsibility to be
    decently presented is greater.
  • The Head of Altarboys does not serve in the
    Hall.

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PARTS OF THE MASS
  • Hand movements and folding of hands
  • Bowing techniques
  • Back straight, sitting posture, position of legs
    with sitting
  • Standing still
  • Kneeling style
  • Separation technique
  • Reverence before the blessed sacrament
  • Plate style
  • Position of hands when sitting
  • Arrangement of cushions
  • Serving style ... height of the priest
  • How to walk gracefully
  • All these are UNIVERSALLY followed by altar
    servers.
  • Practice these in detail with your Head.

34
ADMISSION / ELIGIBILITY
  • A D M I S S I O N
  • This may be opened at any time at the discretion
    of the Head of Altarboys in consultation with the
    Deacon. It is preferred to keep the registration
    open twice a year... January and September. It is
    highly possible that the Head may refuse your
    application for a reason which he will specify in
    writing at the back of the slip and hand over to
    the deacon. In this case, parents who protest can
    refer themselves to the deacon who will have the
    final say in the matter.
  • E L I G I B I L I T Y
  • A written test is permissible for new entrants.
    Once you apply, you are put under strict training
    to learn the ways of the mass. Parents should not
    send their boys assuming that the altar service
    is nothing too great as long as they stand and
    behave in front of the crowd.
  • This attitude is WRONG.

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37
PARENTS AND ATTITUDES
  • It is not uncommon for a parent to want a child
    to be a server but the child has no desire and
    this is a disaster.
  • Parents should rethink the purpose of sending
    their child to the altar. For guaranteed space at
    every mass? To wear colorful robes? This attitude
    is quite common, but questionable.
  • Explain to the child the importance of the altar,
    and how holy you feel by being able to serve it.
  • If they wear sports shoes or violate even one of
    the dress codes, the parents should have a
    conscious decision to NOT send their child to
    serve that day. Rather than being sent back by
    the Head, which is a guarantee as all Heads are
    strict on this rule. Dont say "I already ironed
    his clothes today, so let him serve. Next time
    we'll see". This attitude must be changed!
  • Altarboy meetings and trainings are always
    closed-door sessions. Parents cannot participate
    in any such gathering unless it is mentioned
    before. This is common in most sodalities.

38
  • Some parents who enroll two children for the
    service do a practice of sending one as a
    representative for the other at mass or meetings.
    This attitude is again, questionable.
  • Constant communication with the area supervisor
    or with the Head is necessary at all times to
    ascertain how your child is faring in the service
    and why no meetings have been held recently.
  • On the non-obligatory days when no altarboy robes
    are required, the altarboys wear decent attire.
    This exception is no longer valid.
  • Stop Yourself If your parents dont listen to
    you, remind them of the instructions of your
    sodality. Do not serve mass if you violate any
    rule. Dont think that just because the Head is
    not there, the whole congregation will not notice
    you. This is a wrong school-type behavior. Please
    respect the sanctity of the Altar.

39
RESPECT
  • Altarboys, considering that almost all are
    young, must learn the ways of discipline and
    respect.
  • When the mass is in session, there is to be no
    whispering at the altar.
  • In the sacristy, once you enter, there is total
    silence as you dress up. For obvious reasons. A
    lot of whispering leads to noise.
  • When the Head is talking, TOTAL silence must
    prevail. This is true especially among senior
    boys, who must learn to respect the title once
    robes are worn.
  • No giggling or whispering is permitted at any
    point during your presence in the sacristy unless
    you are asked a question.
  • If you need to talk, please step outside the
    Sacristy door, no matter with your cassocks on.
    Your robes are your pride.

40
ROBES OF THE SODALITY
  • Altar servers normally wear an alb or the
    surplice during a liturgy. According to the
    general rule of the Catholic Church, a surplice
    should be worn always over a cassock, but in
    Poland and other Eastern European countries it is
    worn over appropriate civil attire.
  • Black and red are the most common colors for a
    server's cassock. If an alb is worn, the cincture
    may be of the liturgical color of the day.
  • Servers do not wear a clerical collar or rabat,
    but a thin silver chain with a hanging cross is
    permitted.
  • If no vestments are available, the altar servers
    wear appropriate ordinary clothes. This practice
    is however not allowed in the sodality of Kuwait
    as of 2005. Please iron your robes and dont
    embarrass yourself or us at the altar.
  • Failure to observe these rules looks terrible
    not only at the altar, but also from a distance.

41
  • CASSOCKS SURPLICES
  • Cassocks must be made in consultation with the
    Head. He has the right to refuse any garments
    which were made without his consultation by a
    parent.
  • Cassock must reach the ankles and surplice must
    reach below the knee. Red borders must match.
  • Any trace of your normal clothing (example cuff,
    collars, top button of your cassock) should be
    hidden.

SHOES Some priests come barefoot to respect the
sanctity of the altar. Nothing other than black
or brown FORMAL shoes are permitted. Black sports
shoes should be avoided.
42
  • CROSSES
  • The Head of Altarboys, to distinguish himself at
    the Altar and as a symbol of his leadership,
    wears a small red cross on the center of his
    white surplice at all times. During a pontifical
    occasion, he may wear two red crosses.
  • The Emeritus wears 2 silver crosses of the same
    size on his chest, one overcrossing the other,
    permanently for any mass that he chooses to
    serve.
  • Procurement of all these items must be arranged
    by the Head.
  • We have a Church Tailor called Andrew.
  • His number is 7921504

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VARIOUS POSTITIONS/TITLES
  • None of the positions (save the altarboys at
    large) are official in the church hierarchy. As a
    result, it is not essential for the Bishop to
    acknowledge an altarserver leader as he may pass
    communication through the Parish Priest or the
    Deacon. But it is highly recommendable to do so.
  • Apart from the Head of Altarboys and Assistant
    Head of Altarboys, there are 2 other titles given
    to altarboys in our cathedral.
  • Note that the titles are only applicable to the
    Cathedrals parish jurisdiction, and in Kuwait
    alone.

50
  • E M E R I T U S
  • This is a latin word to say that one has
    "retired with grace". It could be applicable to a
    bishop, a cardinal or even a college professor. A
    retired Head of Altarboys is officially referred
    to as Emeritus Head of Altarboys. A signature (em
    2006) at the bottom of his correspondences shows
    that he is an Emeritus since the year 2006.
  • An Emeritus, upon request, can perform all the
    duties of a Head of Altarboys at any mass, and
    must be accorded necessary respect. Advice can be
    imparted by him to the sodality, and this is
    respected. The two silver crosses signifies his
    position.
  • Because of the many age issues in this type of
    leadership, the title of Emeritus is dropped by
    the age of 21.

51
  • S U P E R I O R
  • This title is given to a very capable senior
    altarboy who is fit to be a role model to the
    sodality for whatever reason that the Head found
    in him.
  • There is no duty here, as the Assistant Head is
    more than capable to handle it all.
  • A R E A S U P E R V I S O R S
  • This practice was launched in 2006 to facilitate
    transport and communication between all
    altar-families in particular areas.
  • The Kuwait City Supervisor is by default chosen
    as the Sacred Heart Hall supervisor for the
    Children's Mass every Friday.

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A PRIVILEDGE, NOT A RIGHT
  • You should understand that it is not your right
    to serve, it is a privilege given to you by the
    Catholic Church and the Apostolic Vicar which you
    should respect and cherish.
  • Not every boy is made an altarboy, and not every
    young child is chosen to serve on the Altar. You
    are the few lucky, chosen ones.
  • The Church has every right to refuse an altarboy.
    For any reason. Sometime there is no reason and
    the parents have to accept that their child is
    not meant to serve at the Altar.

54
THE WORDS OF THE POPE
  • Dear Altar Servers,
  • You are, in fact, already apostles of Jesus!
    When you take part in the Liturgy by carrying out
    your altar service, you offer a witness to all.
    Your absorption, the devotion that wells up from
    your heart and is expressed in gestures, in song,
    in the responses if you do it correctly and not
    absent-mindedly, then in a certain way your
    witness is one that moves people.
  • The Eucharist is the source and summit of the
    bond of friendship with Jesus. You are very close
    to Jesus in the Eucharist, and this is the most
    important sign of his friendship for each one of
    us. Do not forget it.
  • Pope Benedict XVI

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