Saturday, June 13, 2009

Altar angel

Sian has been an Altar server at St Josephs for two years now. She started at the same time as her friend Gemma. They both take it very seriously. They have the perfect facial expressions of reverence all through Mass and float effortlessly from spot to spot doing all their jobs in perfect synchronisation.

Now, two years later the younger siblings have been asked if they would like to be trained as Altar Servers too. Rhiannon and Sophie hand wrote their letters to the school and were accepted into the training along with a few of their friends. They did their training last week and were chomping at the bit to get a chance to do their first Mass. This week was it!

The excitement as they got dressed in their robes was HUGE! Most of the robes were really big and long and we struggled to find two that they wouldn't trip up in.
I went back to my seat and nervously waited for Mass to begin. Monica (Sophie and Gemma's Mum ) was sitting just behind me.

The first half of the Mass went really well. The girls walked up the aisle to the Altar carrying the candles, set them down without incidence and sat solemnly in the chairs with appropriately serious faces. At the blessing of the bread and wine they rang the bells at the correct time and passed the bells on promptly to the next person.

Finally it was the big build up for communion. They lined up and were offered the host and then.... the Wine. Both girls faces were grinning as they waited for their turn. We had talked to them in advance and given permission for them to have a sip but only a sip.

The first senior Alter Server raised the chalice briefly then returned it to the priests hands.

Sophie raised the chalice briefly then returned it to the priests hands.

Rhiannon... How can I describe this... Rhiannon raised the chalice to her lips, paused, raised it higher, paused, raised it higher again, paused. It looked like she was drinking back a pint of water after a marathon. I could feel the giggles building up inside me and I tried so hard to keep my face neutral. I leaned against Byron for support and he squeezed my arm back with a grin on his face. I heard the muffled sound of I'm-trying-to-hold-it-in-but-I-can't laughter from behind me. I looked over my shoulder to see Monica wiping tears of laughter from her eyes. That did it for me. My shoulders started to shake and I just managed to hold off collapsing into laughter until the rows of parishioners started to stand up and file out to the aisle to receive Communion.

When I asked Rhiannon afterwards what on earth she was doing she said "Mum there was hardly any wine in the chalice and it was heavy. I tried to drink some but it wouldn't come to my mouth so I had to raise it higher and higher until it did" She might only have had a tiny sip but I think it went to her head as for the final ten minutes of Mass she couldn't sit still. She wriggled and jiggled, rotated her feet this way, then that, looked up down and round about then wriggled and jiggled some more. She had definitely reached the end of her concentration span!

After Mass she proudly hung up her robes and came back out to join us. Fr Tom very graciously praised them and gave them 10 out of 10 for effort! It's all a learning curve I guess. And that is the story of how my Rhiannon started her journey to becoming a nun. Maybe I'm getting carried away! I brought my little Altar Angel home and made her a big cup of hot Milo before putting her to bed, halo glowing!

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