Cathedral in Phoenix to have male only altar service (includes whimsical WDTPRS POLL)

I was alerted to this article from The Arizona Republic with a note from a reader saying: “The coverage is predictably bad, but the facts are good.”

You may remember that I posted about Fr. Lankeit last January when he promoted Communion on the tongue.  This guy gets it!

For your Brick by Brick file with my emphases and comments.

Phoenix diocese cathedral won’t allow girl altar servers [It could have said, “Cathedral gives affirmation to young men who serve” ]
Reverend: Altar duties part of priesthood prep
by Michael Clancy – Aug. 21, 2011 08:51 PM

The Arizona Republic

Girls no longer will be allowed as altar servers during Mass at the cathedral of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Phoenix, SS. Simon and Jude.

The Rev. John Lankeit, rector of the cathedral, said he made the decision in hopes of promoting the priesthood for males and other religious vocations, such as becoming a nun, for females.

Made up primarily of fifth- through eighth-graders the altar-server corps in American churches has included girls since 1983 in many places. [I suspect that the writer just took the date of the Code of Canon Law.  But there were females serving, contrary to the law, before that.] Girls and boys regularly serve together at churches throughout the Phoenix Catholic Diocese.

Bishops and pastors always have had the option of restricting the role to boys, but only one diocese, Lincoln, Neb., and scattered parishes have done so. [Didn’t Arlington also do that?] Before 1983, when church law was revised, girls were not allowed to serve.  [Even after, until there was an interpretation… a bizarre interpretation I might add… from the Holy See on the point.]

At SS. Simon and Jude Cathedral in Phoenix, the girls will be offered the role of sacristan, the person who prepares the church and the altar area before Mass.

Lankeit said 80 to 95 percent of priests served as altar boys, but he could not state the percentage of altar servers who go on to be priests. [How could he?  Does the writer think this is Psychic Network?]

He made the decision on his own, he said, even though the cathedral is recognized as the home church of Bishop Thomas J. Olmsted and is used for some important church events.

“He leaves these decisions to me,” Lankeit said.

SS. Simon and Jude is believed to be the first church in the diocese of Phoenix to ban girls from serving Mass, according to the diocese. [Note the language.   It could have said “first to support and affirm service by boys”.]

Altar servers have a direct role in the Catholic Eucharistic ceremony, [For pity’s sake.  Non-Catholics know what “Mass” is.] assisting the priest, and are the only lay people directly involved throughout the entire service. [?] Other lay people may serve as lectors or Eucharistic ministers, helping the priest distribute communion.  [Perhaps the writer didn’t have his coffee before he wrote this.  Altar servers are the only lay people involved, except for the other lay people who are involved.]

“The connection between serving at the altar and priesthood is historic,” Lankeit said. “It is part of the differentiation between boys and girls, as Christ established the priesthood by choosing men. Serving at the altar is a specifically priestly act.”

There appears to be little if any research connecting altar service to a later decision to enter the priesthood [And, seemingly, the reporter didn’t do any either!] – or connecting other types of service for girls to religious life as a nun. Anecdotally, the Diocese of Lincoln, Neb., is one of the stronger dioceses in developing new priests. [Hmmmm….]

The Rev. Kieran Kleczewski, pastor of St. Thomas Aquinas in Avondale and director of the diocese Office of Worship, does not expect other parishes following the cathedral’s policy just because it is the cathedral. [That’s right!  Pit one priest against another now.]

“That’s not the way things work in our diocese,” he said. “The pastor has the authority over the parish’s liturgical practices.” [And the bishop?  The pastor as a lot of authority.]

Kleczewski allows girls to serve Mass and has no plans to change.

Lankeit said there had been little reaction to his decision so far, but it was unlikely to sit well with many Catholics, especially those who have daughters who wish to serve. [“Fair” describes the weather, not life.]

“It is a shame on how the church continues to abuse the females,” [PUHLEEZE] said Bob Lutz of Phoenix, a Catholic with three grown daughters. “Church attendance is shrinking now, and this adds more fuel to the fire on how females are treated as second-class citizens.” [he said, as he ordered his caramel-flavored chai whipped cream mocha frothie with sprinkles]

Carole Bartholomeuax of Phoenix, who attended St. Joan of Arc parish, said girls outnumbered boys as altar servers there.

“I believe Mary Magdalene set the example for women to be altar servers. [So!  That’s what Carole thinks.  There it is, then.] I am so sorry to hear of this going backwards,” she said, adding that she still loves her church, “warts and all.” [She still finds reasons to love the Church even after this.  Jesus is so lucky!]

But Michael Clancy, who heads the diocesan men’s group, said girls never were supposed to be allowed to serve, based on his understanding of the rules of the Mass.  [Well… that statement could have been refined a little more too.  Or did the reporter just run out of column inches?]

WDTPRS kudos to the rector of the Cathedral of Phoenix, Very Rev. John Lankeit.

If I get some donations today, I’ll send him a “Save The Liturgy Save The World” coffee mug.  Or should I send the “Say The Black Do The Red”?  Or “WDTPRS”?

Decisions!  I’ll leave the poll open for a couple hours only.

Which coffee mug should Fr. Z send to the Rector of the Cathedral in Phoenix?

  • Save The Liturgy Save The World (79%, 698 Votes)
  • "To Be Deep In History" (8%, 66 Votes)
  • Say The Black Do The Red (7%, 63 Votes)
  • Unreconstructed Ossified Manualist (6%, 51 Votes)
  • WDTPRS (0%, 4 Votes)

Total Voters: 879

Loading ... Loading ...


Okaaaaay… that seems rather decisive.

Now… a few small donations…


FIRST of all, please check out my ACTION ALERT!

The Diocese of Phoenix has issued a statement.

Altar Serving at Ss. Simon and Jude Cathedral

PHOENIX (Aug. 22, 2011) — Experiencing personally the consequences of the priesthood shortage and noting the absence of strong fatherly presence in society in general, and religious practice in particular, Fr. John Lankeit, rector of Ss. Simon and Jude Cathedral, recently restructured the program for boys and girls who serve at Mass. At the Cathedral, boys can train to serve at the altar, and girls can train to serve as sacristans.

The decision was made in order to encourage young men and women to honor their God-given differentiation and complementarity, and to discern more clearly how such differentiation points to specific vocations in the Church.

Boys’ service at the altar has roots in Church history prior to the creation of the modern seminary system where men are formed for priesthood. Before seminaries, serving at the altar was part of an apprenticeship for priesthood. Fr. Lankeit’s decision was made primarily in response to the shortage of priestly vocations, since serving at the altar points very clearly to the specific vocation of priesthood.

He cites examples where limiting altar service to boys in the Diocese of Lincoln, Neb., and in Ann Arbor, Mich., has borne the fruit of many priestly vocations. The Diocese of Lincoln is considered a vocations “powerhouse.” In a single parish in Ann Arbor, in 2008, there were 22 new seminarians and five women in formation for religious life. The same parish is also home to 16 sisters in the Servants of God’s Love religious community.

The Dominican Sisters of Mary, Mother of the Eucharist, also based in Ann Arbor, are receiving so many inquiries from young women interested in entering the order that they cannot build facilities fast enough to accommodate the surge in vocations. Their order offers clear evidence that when the God-given differentiation between male and female is honored, both men’s and women’s vocations flourish.

The first girls to train in the Cathedral’s sacristan program are learning quickly, serving well and enjoying the important responsibility of sacristan. [And it is very important.  No question.] The parish is coordinating with a contemplative women’s religious order to provide these young sacristans with a “come and see” event at their monastery and to learn from one of the sisters who served as the official sacristan of their mother house in Alabama.

Press Contacts:

Rob DeFrancesco
Director of Communications
(602) 354-2130

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. Tom Esteban says:

    Praise the Lord for priests like Fr.Lankeit. I found your commentary quite funny Fr, especially with the latter half of the article. “Warts and all”, huh? I also notice the liberal interpretation of the word “abuse” and, of course, with the word “continues”, implying that the Church has abused women in the past. It’s unbelievable what gets published these days.

    Also… “Eucharistic Minister”? Cringe. Can’t expect much more from the article, but I hate seeing Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion being refered to as Eucharistic Ministers. More word games in an attempt to make blurry the distinction between the ordained clergy and the laity.

  2. Rellis says:

    Arlington did support and affirm male altar servers until the early 2000s. Then, as a sort of compromise, Bishop Loverde allowed altar girls and implemented Ecclesia Dei adflicta–at one indult parish.

    The latter action, of course, became moot with Summorum Pontificum (and the number of TLMs in Arlington is greater than any other diocese in the USA). But we’re stuck with the other half of the compromise that isn’t redundant.

    Incidentally, the priests of the Arlington Diocese are reputed to have sent a dubium to the bishop asking if they were required to accept altar girls. He replied in the negative. Thanks to the wonderful presbyterite of the diocese, the number of parishes with altar girls is mercifully-small, and unlikely to grow.

  3. trad catholic mom says:

    Oh how I miss living in the Phoenix diocese.

  4. guatadopt says:

    I was an altar server all through the 1990’s. Our pastor was very much a “Say the Black, do the Red” guy. We had no girl servers for the same reasons. We also had a pecking order and a dress code for servers…which is mostly lacking in parishes today. Our small, inner city parish in Cleveland produced many vocations, including a Bishop. There was once a gang of parents in the late 1990’s who cornered him about letting girls serve. His reponse…”if you think life is supposed to be fair, you either picked the wrong species or God screwed up.” He was unrelenting…it was awesome.

  5. tjtenor2 says:

    Amen, Rellis. I love the Diocese of Arlington. It’s incredibly easy to find TLMs, and the number of parishes that meet my two general criteria for “regular” parishes (1. no altar girls and 2. no GIA hymnals) is very high.

  6. gkeuter says:

    I have known Fr. John since his ordination as I am at St. Anne parish in Gilbert, AZ, his first assignment. Yes, I am name dropping because I am so blessed to know this priest of Jesus. I miss him terribly but I know that God has a plan and it is apparently not to make Fr. John my personal priest. : \

    At the risk of shameless self promotion on the heals of my shameless name dropping above, here is a link to an interview I did with Fr. John in his first few months of priesthood. I had an immediate attraction to him as a man of God and I wanted to get to know him better. The link is to a full podcast but feel free to fast forward to the interview.

    Please pray for Bishop Olmsted, Fr. John, the Diocese of Phoenix and all the priest, deacons and religious around the world. They need our love and support.

  7. Dan P says:

    I have 3 young daughters, and probably a 4th (due on Sept 7 and don’t know the sex). We and another family with 2 daughters and 3 sons, WISH we could find a parish with only boy altar boys, so I don’t have to keep explaining to my daughters why girl altar boys isn’t a good idea.

    So we don’t all see it as an equal-rights-for-our-daughters issue.

  8. Andrew says:

    There’s a lot of nasty commentary from readers attached to the Arizona Republic article. I posted an ‘alternative’ view.

  9. Liz says:

    I feel so blessed being from Lincoln. Bishop Bruskewitz has been such a treasure. It was always a little difficult to go to other places. I would go to into the other churches when I was out of town and mentally slap my forehead. Girl Altar Boys! Rats! I forgot about them. Then, I would irrationally think/pray, “Please be an Indian boy. Please be an Indian boy.” Sadly, it was never an Indian boy. (I know I’m not so politically correct. Nobody says, “Indian” anymore. But, “Please be a Native American boy,” is not what my brain thought.)
    ANYWAY, God bless this priest and his efforts. I have a feeling his parish will be one of those with many vocations to the priesthood and religious life which will in turn lead to good and holy families as well. I will pray for him and his parish today.

  10. r.j.sciurus says:

    Perhaps readers here could offer support and the needed “correct viewpoints” at the AZ Republic article comment box.

  11. DisturbedMary says:

    Carole said: I am so sorry to hear of this going backwards,” she said, adding that she still loves her church, “warts and all.”

    So Carole finds this hard? Listen Carole, your objection sounds shallow and dare I say wartlike. You ought to be telling your daughter about the heavenly meaning of the Mass. How it takes us up, not backwards. How we are readying ourselves for the reception of the Son of God. How no one is diminished when they allow themselves to be released from the earthly gravity (B16) and pulled up toward Divine supper. How we should be thankful always for this gift of heaven on earth — this ineffable (look it up) gift beyond our mortal comprehension.

  12. NonSumDignus says:

    Deo Gratias!

  13. I am blessed to be a member of Fr. Lankeit’s flock at the cathedral in Phoenix, and ask you to keep him in your prayers. We are incredibly grateful for his faithful leadership. He’s been very clear about his vision to increase vocations to the priesthood in our diocese, and this is just one example of the way he is going about that. And yes, if you can offer a positive comment on that article, it would be great!

  14. La Sandia says:

    I think it’s high time for Rome to rescind permission for female altar servers–and this is coming from someone who was an “altar girl” back before I knew better. In combination with the “we’re all special” hymns, talk-show host priest, and hand-holding, it tends to send a message to boys and young men that the Catholic faith is effeminate and hokey–and what young man growing up in that environment would want to become a priest?

    I don’t know if this is true, but I read somewhere that the only reason that JPII granted permission for female altar servers was as a political bone thrown to the French bishops to keep them from revolting over Ordinatio Sacerdotalis. Apparently, beforehand he had sworn up and down that he wouldn’t grant permission. Anyone know more about this?

  15. SonofMonica says:

    This, plus abrogating the use of EMHCs will go a long, long way toward revitalizing Catholic worship and identity. We should all offer up prayers for the rector of the cathedral, and for our own parishes about this issue. I brought up males-only altar service to my priest once, and he was not receptive. Since then, he has resorted to trying to get adults to serve. So now we have a short-grey-haired bitty up there in an alb, looking like a pagan or Episcopalian woman-priest. After that backfire, I’m definitely going to keep my mouth shut unless I’m talking to God (or on a fine blog such as this).

  16. Mike says:

    I live in the Archdiocese of Washington, DC. We have girls serving Mass all the time. I believe one’s opinion on this issue reveals much about either your good formation, or your ignorance.

    Arlington Diocese seems like paradise compared the what we get here. Yes, I am jealous!

  17. Papabile says:

    @Rellis Slight correction there.

    H.E. Loverde allowed two indult (at St. Lawrence in Springfield, and John the Baptist near front Royal) Masses in the Diocese when he allowed female altar servers, not one. This occurred in March of 2006. He noted that Pastors could make their own decisions regarding female service.

    Additionally, at the same time, Bishop Loverde promulgated formal legislation viz. the old rite.

    2/3rs of the parishes in Arlington have had some form of the old rite. about 20% of the parishes allow altar girls.

  18. Centristian says:


    “So Carole finds this hard? Listen Carole, your objection sounds shallow and dare I say wartlike. You ought to be telling your daughter about the heavenly meaning of the Mass. How it takes us up, not backwards.”

    Take it easy on Carole; she’s a typical Catholic confused by the inconsistent leadership that has plagued the Church over the last four decades. We’ve all been jerked back and forth, from right to left and right again, by clergy that can’t seem to make up their minds about what the Church should be or in what direction the Church should be headed. One day something is impossible, the next day that same thing is mandatory.

    Such and such pope says altar girls are okay; such and such rector says they aren’t. Naturally, people are going to get upset when you give things to them, then take them back. Naturally the faithful are going to look at the Church as a collection of warts when one generation of clergy moves everything to the left only to have the next generation of clergy begin to scold us for having moved left when the previous generation told us to.

    The Caroles of this world may be misguided, on the one hand…but who has misguided them, on the other? It’s not Carole’s fault.

  19. Phil_NL says:

    I believe one’s opinion on this issue reveals much about either your good formation, or your ignorance.

    Actually, no. As girls-serving-as-altar-boys is an allowed practice, there’s no reason to require catholics to be against. In fact, on that issue itself, I don’t care much either way. I can see the advantages of boys-only, but I can also see that many pastors would put it very far down on their list of priorities. There are plenty of interfering mechanisms – your local ex-nun, for example – that could do enough damage to outweigh any positive effects.

    What I do care about though are abuses during Mass, deviations from red or black, stuff that isn’t allowed. And it happens that altar girls have a certain predictive value in that sense; it tends to correlate with the formation and orthodoxy of the priest (but weakly, as there are also solid priests who again don’t see it as a priority). It tends to be a visible part of a much bigger issue, with many of the other pieces being actual abuses. I suspect that this correlation drags down the reputation of parishes with altar-girls more than anything else.

  20. Marcin says:

    Indeed, in D. of Washington it’s common to have altar girls. In our parish, where my son goes to a parochial school, the former pastor introduced it less than 10 years ago. I guess he was late into the game, nevertheless he did it. The new pastor didn’t change much, except firing a female DRE who promoted disturbingly emotional version of religion.

  21. contrarian says:

    In my parish, my wonderful and aging pastor often talks about what a great day it will be when from his parish springs a priestly vocation. I agree that will be a wonderful day. But I don’t think it will be anytime soon, given the army of alter girls used for every Mass, and the fact that the head alter ‘server’, the one organizing all of the other ones, is also a college-aged girl.

    I just wish that those who were in charge at my parish could see this obvious point.

    Oh, and I picked Unreconstructed Ossified Manualist, but only because that’s just the coolest phrase of all time.

  22. JoAnna says:

    Well, I’m a Catholic in Phoenix with two girls and a boy (and one in the womb, whose sex we chose not to find out prior to birth), and if they’d asked me I would have said I thought it was a great move to encourage more vocations to the priesthood.

  23. Soler says:

    Father Z,

    Altar servers … are the only lay people directly involved throughout the entire service.

    It seems to me that the author means that altar servers are the only ones directly involved continuously throughout the Mass, as the other lay ministers only exercise their functions at particular points in the liturgy.

    In any case, I agree with the reader who sent this in.

  24. mike cliffson says:

    The permitted exception becomes the rule.
    I was confirmed by the bishop in 1958, UK.Probably even then deans or vicars or whatever your US name is confirmed in odd islands or behind the iron curtain, but otherwise unimaginable then. Now even superb, really superb, Bishops routinely delegate confirmation. Yes, I know, the Eastern rites, S.America, yes ,Canon law, Ok, Ok,……….
    But , please convince me we didn’t lose something, explain what we gained.
    How do you ease out -permissible – serviettes? Let them “die out”?(= grow up).Halt already?
    I know good practicing catholic families that ‘d be hurt when it stops.Becuase stop it will have to,I suspect. If it’d never started, been different.

  25. JonPatrick says:

    It seems to me that the silver lining in all of this is that while boys are being squeezed out of opportunities to serve at Ordinary Form Masses, the increased use of the Extraordinary Form is opening up a better opportunity. In the EF, boys have an opportunity to not only serve but to become much more intimately familiar with the liturgy – look at the level of training needed to serve at an EF Mass – the precise movements, great chunks of Latin that need to be memorized, and so on – compared to the OF as it is done at most parishes in my area. Sadly it seems one does not even need to know how to genuflect anymore! In learning these movements and responses one would pick up much about the nature of the liturgy and why we do what we do. So It seems to me that serving at the EF is a much better preparation for a vocation should it be discerned.

  26. everett says:

    One of the things in the story not being discussed is how this priest isn’t just getting rid of them, but giving them another opportunity, that of sacristan, which has its own importance, and it sounds like he hopes might lead to female vocations as well.

  27. I think a good way a pastor could return to all-male altars is not to see “no girls allowed”, but to say the parishes new “priesthood vocation discernment group” will be taking up serving duties, in order to familiarize them with the duties of the altar.

    First, he should start such a group. This group should have the active participation of the boys fathers, not only because of the sad climate in the Church today, but also because the priesthood is also supposed to reflect natural fatherhood. Once he has enough numbers, he can assign them to one of the Masses, and then two, etc.

    This might help stop accusation of “no girls allowed” if that technically wasn’t the case.

  28. Jenny says:

    I hate to throw cold water on a creative idea for solving the girl-altar boy problem, but if the pastor started a “priesthood vocation discernment group,” how many boys would join it?

    One area where I like the girl servers is when siblings serve together. Otherwise I prefer the boys. [So, maybe father and son teams would be even better.]

  29. jjfxg says:

    “Carole Bartholomeuax of Phoenix, who attended
    St. Joan of Arc parish, said girls outnumbered boys as altar servers there.”

    hmm…. past tense

  30. Grateful Catholic says:

    In the liturgically impoverished Diocese of Charleston, parishes have moved beyond the limitation of mere altar girls, phalanxes of whom have for many long years formed the ordinary corps of servers. Liturgies now commonly feature, and I believe “feature” is an accurate word, teams comprising, for example, mothers and sons, middle-aged husbands and wives, and middle-aged and older women serving at the Altar. Last summer I was in attendance at a Sunday Vigil Mass at the Cathedral where the reader was a modestly attired middle-aged woman sporting a black mantilla and the server was a too-amply endowed older woman whose tight alb-like garment was tightly cinched at the waist and revealed every curve and almost every roll. What a juxtaposition. What a horror.

    If the Diocese of Arlington has the largest number of TLMs, I wonder if the Archdiocese of Detroit comes in second.

  31. Legisperitus says:

    It’s not surprising that the girls outnumber the boys. Once a certain amount of influx of girls takes place, it becomes a “girl thing” and the boys aren’t so interested anymore. That’s just the way it is.

  32. If St. Mary Magdalene is an example of a female altar server, clearly Mme. Carole thinks that altar servers spend a lot of time anointing priests with perfume, crying over their feet, and then drying off their feet with their hair.

    Which I admit would make for a Very Entertaining Holy Thursday.

  33. Especially the bit where there’d be bits of cracked perfume jar all over the sanctuary floor.

  34. A reader sent me email to point out that I forgot to include the “Brick by Brick” mug in the poll list.

    Sorry about that. The next time I do something like this I will include that one too.

  35. MissOH says:

    There are some times I really regret my sister moved from Phoenix so I no longer have the chance to visit there.
    I often have tinges of envy at those across the river in N. VA both due to the number of EF masses (including some available daily masses) and a number of good solid parishes with no serviettes. Luckily we can attend the EF mass on Sundays and the daily masses we attend often do not have a server, but that is not true of many of the parishes in our area so if we don’t go to our normal parish I have to choose daily masses carefully.

  36. HyacinthClare says:

    Fr. Lankeit came to the Phoenix suburban novus ordo parish I used to attend right out of seminary, and he wore a cassock and preached real Catholicism from day one. I’m absolutely delighted at what he’s doing at the cathedral.

  37. HoyaGirl says:

    Shhhhhh! I’m a boundary crosser in the Diocese of Arlington. We should be at the parish less than a mile from our home, but instead we are registered in the one 3 miles away. Why, you ask? In a word, it’s orthodoxy in the Mass, in the teachings, in Bible study, and in nearly every aspect of parish life. Having only boys serving at the altar is one of most obvious examples to me of this great blessing. We have a daughter who is old enough to serve if our parish allowed it and a son who is of age and considering it. In casual conversation the other day, this very topic was raised, and they – without any prompting from me – articulated on their own the importance of having only boys as servers so they may more easily discern vocations to the priesthood. They also added that having girls on the altar sends the wrong message to other girls about the importance of the priesthood and the uniqueness of this vocation. Then they expressed sadness at how my parents’ parish in NC and the two other parishes we have visited here in VA are allowing girls among their altar servers. Maybe in time “this (female servers) too shall pass.”

  38. Martial Artist says:

    Father Z,

    I selected “Save the Liturgy, Save the World.” I almost chose “Unreconstructed Ossified Manualist” but refrained because I think the slogan might possibly be improved upon by adding the word “Happily” at its beginning. That would readily clarify to an unfamiliar observer of the mug that its user is quite satisfied to be counted as one. Of course, not being familiar with the good Father Lankeit, I would be uncertain if he would be pleased by the appellation. Nevertheless, I wouldn’t desire that the donee think the donor was being critical

    Pax et bonum,
    Keith Töpfer

  39. great scot says:

    Did anyone else notice that the author of the article either: A. consulted a man who happens to have the same name as himself or B. paraphrased himself in the third person in the final sentence of the article? This caused me to do a bit of a double-take, but sure enough the names at the top and the bottom of the article are in fact the same.

    If the answer is A, then that is a fun coinsidence which appears awkward.
    If the answer is B, then I think some Mystic Monk coffee could have gone a long way.

    Either way, I find an awkward response to such an action preferable to a negative one.

    May God bless Fr. Lankeit for his efforts.

  40. Paul says:

    Waaaiitttt a minute: This article is by a man assuming the name “Michael Clancy.” The last paragraph includes an interview with another man assuming the name “Michael Clancy.”

    Anyone else curious?

  41. Andrew Mason says:

    I attended college in Arlington, before and during Bishop Loverde’s tenure, and for some reason we were allowed to have female servers even before they were allowed in parishes. I grew up in and currently live in the Diocese of Trenton, and if I recall we got female servers in the late 90s (right after I stopped serving). Perhaps not coincidentally, there were a lot of servers when I was one but now they are few and almost all girls. I remember serving at Easter Mass and there’d be more than a dozen of us, now they have to resort to using adults because no kids do it anymore. I occasionally attend another parish that also has girl servers, and while they seem to have enough I can’t remember the last time I saw an altar boy there.

  42. jorgens6 says:

    My 12 year old son will begin altar server training this weekend. I have been asking him for the last three years if he would like to serve…he’s finally agreed! Please say a prayer for him!

  43. Papabile says:

    @Andrew Mason

    I had completely forgotten about this, but Bishop Keating (Bishop Loverde’s predecessor) had allowed women to serve at the altar at colleges and universities when the Chaplain determined that a genuine shortage of men existed.

    Of note…. The diocesan priests were instructed to leave the altar and walk to the credence table for the purifications and to add the water to the wine at the same table.

  44. John Nolan says:

    A few years ago I attended a Mass and Blessed Sacrament procession in a Bavarian village on Whit Monday. It was impressive to see how the entire population, young and old, turned out (all motor traffic was kept out of the village for the entire morning) in what is still a very Catholic region. I noticed that the priest surrounded himself at the altar with a bevy of teenage girls, while the boys were relegated to lesser roles such as carrying banners. I found it rather disturbing.

  45. pablo says:

    A courageous Bishop and Priest would be one that fires the Freemasons working in the Bishop’s office and in the parishes in Phoenix, Arizona.

    Altar girls are easy to beat up on.

    How about taking on the Freemasons in the Bishop’s Office?

    I entrust this whole matter in the hands of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, “Mother of the Priest par excellence, Our Lord Jesus Christ, and through Him, of all priests in whom she forms her Son”.


  46. Andrew Mason says:

    Papabile: That explains things, although I can’t imagine that there weren’t enough willing men to serve the single daily Mass and two Sunday Masses that were offered at the chapel. I wasn’t an altar server (I was a reader), but I would have done it if I had been asked. I think that it was just a matter of the young woman asking and the chaplain telling her that she could. There aren’t exactly a large number of colleges and universities in the diocese, and I can think of one out west that probably didn’t take them up on the offer, so maybe Bp. Keating thought that it was a small move that would appease the pro-altar girl side while not angering the anti side too much. Judging by his successor’s decision to allow them in parishes, I guess it wasn’t successful.

  47. Pablo — *What* are you talking about? Substantiation?

  48. pablo says:

    “…Pablo — *What* are you talking about? Substantiation?…”

    The Bishop’s assistant had no idea what a Freemason is also, when I communicated with his office.

    You have lost the war when you don’t know who or what the enemy is.

    The comment I made was to gain the ear of those with the wherewithal to move on the matter; it was not intended for those not aware.

    As for the subject of this post, Altar girls were not created because Christ was stupid, and did not know women should behave as men, they were created as a means of attacking the Priesthood.

    There is no place for disobedient women in the Church.

    Christ told Mary Magdalene “Noli Me Tangere.” “Do not touch Me” = No Altar Girls or Priests.

    Saint Mary Magdalene was not a Feminist.

    She knew her place, no matter modernists Roman Protestants do not like this fact.


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