The Altar Servers is one of the many ministries actively engaged at St. Joseph’s Parish, Highland Creek. The acolytes, as they are also referred to, comprise of both boys and girls who assist at our weekly Eucharistic celebrations. The Ministry welcomes all those from grade 4 level or 9 years of age, who have received their First Holy Communion and who are genuinely interested in serving.
The servers play a very important role during our Eucharistic celebrations and are, therefore, expected to display a sense of maturity, dedication and commitment, when given this responsibility. Parents’ cooperation and support is also very important. All new candidates are registered and receive an introductory training, and are also provided with guidelines when they join. In the beginning, the recruits are guided by the more seasoned altar servers. Gradually, they gain confidence and very soon they are able to serve independently. Their enthusiasm and commitment is very encouraging. Amongst the current altar servers, 24 of them have been awarded the Cardinal Carter gold medallion for their dedicated service.
Over a period of two years (2002 – 2004), this ministry has grown from a handful of acolytes to a total of 65 registered servers. This has made it necessary to reorganize the ministry to cater for the large number. Previously, servers had the freedom to assist at any of the masses that they attended, on a ‘first come first serve’ basis. Scheduling was only done at Christmas and Easter masses. However, in February 2004, servers began following a mass schedule, which gives each of them an equal opportunity to serve. In order to ensure that the functions of the Ministry run smoothly, two senior and experienced servers were appointed for each mass, to serve as ‘Leaders’. These appointees serve as mentors and provide guidance to the junior ones.
The Altar Servers enjoy excellent support from the parents and the Pastoral Team. Its activities are centered on the family. During the years 2002 to 2004 a bowling event was held, followed by a potluck dinner arranged by the parents in the parish hall. An Altar Servers Appreciation Day was organized by the Knights of Columbus to recognize servers for their service to the church. Certificates were presented to all servers and this was followed by a pizza lunch. The entire parish team was present, as well as servers and their parents.
In December 2003 a very successful event was held in the Parish Hall, attended by servers and their parents. Also in attendance were members of the Parish team, the Knights of Columbus, the Serra Clubs and invited guest speakers. The programme was planned with a specific intent of introducing the concept of vocation to the youth, in order to establish a sense of direction in their lives. The participants were made to realize by the speakers, who shared their experiences, that each one of us had a vocation, not necessarily religious, and a purpose in life. The programme ended with Mass that was celebrated in the hall, with all gathered around a make-shift altar. Pizza was served by the Knights of Columbus to conclude a very eventful and happy occasion.
In 2004, the Altar Servers proposed and took part in various activities, as part of the 150 years celebrations.