Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Cardinal Fratelli's talk for Altar-Servers.

The Mass is a very special occasion- like a wedding. Now we are always on our best behavior at weddings aren't we? Don't we say: “please” “Thank you” “Yes sir” and “Yes ma'am” ?

            -Do we dress sloppy for weddings? No we don’t. We comb our hair, wash our faces and clean our hands. There shall be no gummy ears, runny noses or dirty fingernails. It is very important we are presentable.

            -Long, un-groomed hair isn't befitting of an altar server. Don’t even try to tell me its okay because Jesus had long hair. The only thing more insufferable than messy hair is a sassy mouth!

            - There is no excuse for ruffled surplices and cassocks. If your parents have not time to wash them, wash them yourselves. I will have no more mud-stains: stop playing in the dirt! Neither will any of you wear scruffy shoes. If your shoes are worn out or you can’t afford new ones, come and see me.

- Any one of you who smells like grass or cigar-smoke, shall be made to wait outside the sanctuary. “My poppa smokes” you say- but you are the one with stale breath! If you don’t have enough respect to keep from your vices on Sunday morning, you do not deserve the respect of the sanctuary.

-One of you brought a frog to Mass last Sunday. No one here is the next Francis of Assisi. This will not happen again!

-I know some of you are sleepy, having woken early and walked all the way to church. That is fine and I am pleased to allow you time to liven up. However, tiredness is no excuse for inattention and sloppy form. By now, you should be able to fold hands in your sleep and lift your head at the smell of incense.

- For those of you with too much energy; please run around outside before coming to Mass. Stretch your legs- but do not fidget or dare pinch the younger boys! Even worse should I ever catch you fighting… Servants of Christ are not rabble-rousers... Your mothers taught you better. We stand as equals before God and shame on you for claiming any kind of rank!

- Some of you are clumsy and cannot help it. It is best for you to kneel and ring the bells. Take nothing beyond your ability.

- Stop holding hands. This is a nuisance.

    -Yes, we have heard over and over again that Paolo has a girlfriend. Not every altar-server is called to be a priest. Stop picking on him.

- Slurred Latin is shameful. “Escum spirtu tu” is NOT an acceptable response! If you don’t have enough discipline to practice your responses at home, you should not have the privilege to stand up here and say them!

- If you have anything in your mouth, spit it out at home! I am tired of finding crumbs and discarded gum in the sacristy!

- This is the last time I tell you not to clang the sacred vessels and patens together. If you would not dare do this with your mother’s best china, you shouldn't dare do it here.

- Stop talking after Mass. The sanctuary is not a boys-club. When you have changed back into your regular clothes and left the church, you may resume conversation.

-I know it is fun swinging the thurible and watch smoke come out however this is no grounds to make loops and spill coals everywhere. You are to be offering prayers to God, not showing off!

- Anyone caught smoking on the church steps will not be allowed to serve that day. The same with swearing. Dirty mouths are for heathens!

We know at the Mass, Jesus and all the saints are present. Mother Mary is there; your guardian angels and all the angels are there. So it is best we show utmost respect!