I see that at the Cathedral of the Diocese of Trenton, where Bp. David O’Connell reigns, there is a group called the “Guardians of the Altar”. This, according to the diocesan newspaper’s site The Monitor.
Guardians of the Altar welcomes new members
As the Mother Church of the diocese, St. Mary of the Assumption Cathedral, Trenton, is where special Masses and liturgies such as ordinations of priests and deacons, the Chrism Mass and Rite of Election, [Which are indeed special, are usually well-publicized and frequented.] are celebrated by Bishop David M. O’Connell, C.M.
Given the nature of such celebrations, it is only fitting that a special group of altar servers are commissioned to assist in such celebrations and services.
In 2011, Msgr. Joseph Roldan, cathedral rector, and Julio Alvarez, parish director of religious education and formation, formed the Guardians of the Altar program to train high school-aged boys to serve during Masses celebrated by the Bishop and other special services in the cathedral. [Okay, so they are a cadre of well-trained altar servers… too.]
“They are, what we call, the elite of the servers,” said Alvarez, who coordinates the Guardians.
The initial class of Guardians consisted of five young men, followed by an additional three who were installed in 2012. The most recent cohort, installed in December, had seven young men, bringing the size of the entire group to 15.
Different from the traditional altar servers of the parish, [Whoa! I hope these guys are also trained in the Extraordinary Form. If not why not? How “elite” are they?] Guardians are trained to assist during celebrations with Bishop O’Connell, which can have varying traditions and rituals as well as a significant number of priests and deacons who are joining the bishop at the altar.
“The group is specifically (trained) to serve the bishop when he is here for Mass in the cathedral and any (other) special Mass in the cathedral,” said Alvarez.
Members of the order, who have previously served as traditional altar servers before joining, participate in quarterly trainings, as well as periodical retreats. [During which they read liturgical publications, right?] The members are also involved in the parish youth group, Alvarez said.
Beyond the practical training involved in helping them to assist during special celebrations in the cathedral, the order has a spiritual formation component as well.
“The group is geared towards vocations as well, so we try to talk to them about that,” said Alvarez.
Read the rest there.
Fr Z Kudos to Msgr. Roldan.
Young men like and need this sort of thing. They. Just. Do.
However, I would suggest another dimension.
Serving at the altar is of great importance. Making sure that nothing else but worship is done at the altar during Mass is also important.
From time to time some loonyburger disturbs religious services. For those of you who are off your meds and contemplating such a thing, remember: in most places it’s illegal and you can be prosecuted. I digress. You may recall that recently a mostly naked idiot jumped up onto the altar of Cologne Cathedral during Christmas Mass. Class act.
I have opined that bishops and priests ought to be thinking about how to handle these situations because – mark my words – they are going to be more common. They will probably also get more violent. Satan is on the prowl, friends.
When these incidents ooze up out of the filthy mud of diabolical activity or the sad mire of mental disturbance, the suggestion has been raised on this blog that a corps of men ought to be engaged to keep an eye on what’s going on in church. They can assist if something goes amiss.
They could be off-duty LEOs and former military. Some could (and probably should) be armed. Perhaps some training in, I dunno, Judo? Aikido? Dare I suggest … Kendo? I digress.
We read of horrible, sometimes heartbreaking, stories about someone shooting up a church. Assailants are far less likely to attack a place wherein they know that someone is likely to be armed and ready for a problem.
I never want – never again – to hear of any sort of attack on people or on the sacred mysteries in a church.
Mai più. Never again! More Guardians of the Altar!
In the meantime, here are two POLLS I posted some time ago:
The spittle-flecked nutties have commenced! Über-liberal US Catholic has a froth underway.