FishEaters Traditional Catholic Forums

Full Version: Catholic culture question: stories about (real) altar boys?
You're currently viewing a stripped down version of our content. View the full version with proper formatting.
Pages: 1 2
OK, I am looking for books, magazine articles, anecdotes about about being an altar boy.  A real altar boy, not one of today's "altar servers" whose main function is to sit on either side of the Captain Kirk chair located where the High Altar used to be, and look ostentatiously bored throughout the NO Mass.  Altar boys like my dad, who memorized the Latin responses, actually said them audibly, and got up at unreasonable hours and took subways to assist at the Early Early Low Mass.  I have two boys, and I'd like to give them a peek at a world that's been driven underground.  Maybe it'll tempt them as they grow older.

I've been looking to purchase a copy of Fr. Leo Trese's Book for Boys , which contains such stories.  But any such Pre-VII stories will do!  Thanks!
Yeah, shame on us stupid NO altar boys who never had the opportunity to go to a TLM.  We don't have our own stories because we were probably sleeping during Mass or performing liturgical dances or something.
(12-10-2010, 02:56 PM)TradDad Wrote: [ -> ]whose main function is to sit on either side of the Captain Kirk chair located where the High Altar used to be, and look ostentatiously bored throughout the NO Mass. 
Yep, that was me and my brother growing up. Been there done that!

Wish I had resources to recommend, I'm in the same boat actually. My 7 year old son will be learning to serve the TLM soon as well.
We had the Captain Kirk chair for about ten years during the tenure of a past parish priest who was very old and now dead, and the priest who followed him returned the tabernacle to wher
(12-10-2010, 05:20 PM)dark lancer Wrote: [ -> ]But I suppose that whatever NO kids have to say is irrelevant to people like TradDad.
Maybe he would care if his kids were going to learn the NO Mass? I certainly don't claim much interest for NO server rubrics all that much.
(12-10-2010, 05:44 PM)Beatissima Mariae Wrote: [ -> ]
(12-10-2010, 05:20 PM)dark lancer Wrote: [ -> ]But I suppose that whatever NO kids have to say is irrelevant to people like TradDad.
Maybe he would care if his kids were going to learn the NO Mass? I certainly don't claim much interest for NO server rubrics all that much.

If you read his post, it's clear that he thinks that NO altar boys never took their duties seriously.
Wow.  So this is how a fish slap feels like:  Fish-Eater Smackdown

Dark Lancer, I am heartily sorry that I have offended you.  It wasn't my intention.  I no doubt was not irenic, but I am a new Trad, and here I thought I could vent my own frustrations with the Mass as it is currently conducted.  If it helps a little, I went through a wreckovation when I was seven, which turned my turn-of-the-century parish, originally serving German immigrant craftsmen who largely built and decorated it in their spare time, into a whitewashed meeting hall.  The only elements of beauty left were the stained glass windows.

Beatissima Marie, I hope I don't shock you: I still regularly attend the Novus Ordo, and I love it: it brought me to Christ.  But I wince at how informal and stripped down it is, which is why I am becoming more and more Traditionalist.

My point about altar boys then and now: altar servers who serve the Novus Ordo have minimal responsibilities compared to altar boys who serve the Mass of Trent.  Let me expound:

NO altar servers, at least the ones I seen all my life, generally don't make the responses at all, even though these are in English.  Maybe this is is a regional peculiarity, but it's been my experience all over the Northeast, and throughout the U.S.

EFM altar boys had to memorize long and complicated Latin responses, and had to audibly make them (to the priest at least).  My dad still remembers his. 

The "playbook" of the NO, versus the EFM, is vastly less complicated.  Process up; serve as bookstand; process down and up as giftbearer escort; process down.  I was blown away in my current parish when I saw the altar servers knelt before the altar at consecration.  The EFM requires much more precision and choreographed movement. 

Likewise, there's more for the EFM altar boys to do, because there's incensing and asperging and all the glorious ritual that's been stripped from the NO.  We don't even have candlesticks to bear in my parish.

Frankly, I don't know of NO rubrics.  It seems most things are permitted, and learning the rubrics consists mainly of "don't trip, don't drop things, don't fall asleep, and don't ogle your fellow server, even if you have a crush on her."

And based on my dad's experience at least, he was up and out at 5:00AM to take the D train to OLPH to serve the early, early morning Low Mass, which was for the cops and other shift workers coming on or off.  I don't blame the servers, I blame the culture: altar boys had responsibilities then that we wouldn't think of allowing now. 

Finally, altar servers versus altar boys:

a) It's well-established that boys are difficult to inculcate with religion.
b) Training boys exclusively as altar boys was a known way to give them skin in the game, as it were.
c) Boys don't want to be part of "girl things".
d) Girls can be altar servers now.
e) Boys have largely abandoned being altar servers, except under compulsion, because it's now a "girl thing".
ERGO
f) Boys are being lost to the Church.

I'm sorry if this offends anyone, but here I stand.
Anyway, any of you Trads got altar boy stories?
I believe the term "altar servers" or just acolytes is preferable since "altar boys" suggests that grown men are too old to serve. Though I think older teenagers and men are preferable to little kids. Case in point, this whole discussion is centered around altar service as a duty for kids. But perhaps you'd like to serve the altar yourself, TradDad.

On the subject of Novus Ordo altar servers not having much to do....

The complexity of laymen's duties in serving the Tridentine Mass is arguably an accident of history since the low and sung Masses, rather than solemn Mass, have become the norm. What altar servers in the low Mass, etc. are doing is basically picking up the slack since the deacon and subdeacon aren't there. But in the solemn Mass with deacon and subdeacon (which is still the "normative" form of the liturgy, despite its rarity), there isn't much for acolytes to do, either. In the solemn Mass, acolytes don't have to learn the prayers at the foot of the altar or make other such responses because that's the job of the deacon and subdeacon. They are truly the priest's "fratres" (brothers), not the acolytes.

Likewise, in the solemn Mass, the acolytes don't need to handle the cruets. There's less incensing for them to do. They're a lot more decorative, serving mainly to hold the candles and torches, or make sure the deacon's/subdeacon's vestments don't get wrinkled when they sit down. The Catholic Encyclopedia says:

Acolyte, Catholic Encyclopedia Wrote:The chief offices of an acolyte are to light the candles on the altar, to carry them in procession, and during the solemn singing of the Gospel; to prepare wine and water for the sacrifice of the Mass; and to assist the sacred ministers at the Mass, and other public services of the Church.

For a visual example, if you look at this video (an SSPX solemn Mass at one of their seminaries), the acolytes are almost nonexistent. The deacon and subdeacon do the vast majority of the serving, and there's one master of ceremonies to do the rest.




So in short, I wouldn't hold up the complexity of altar serving between the two forms of Mass as an essential difference.
As for the original question........ I was 18 when I first became a baptized Catholic. I served the evening Latin NO Mass at my parish for some time, which was alright. I had about as much to "do" here as an acolyte in a sung Tridentine Mass. But the church has so many trained servers, I could only be scheduled for one Sunday a month. One friend of mine remarked, "aren't you too old to be doing that?" I found that very annoying at the time, so I quit. Didn't really matter, though, since there's no shortage of acolytes at this church. (There are probably over 50.)

A couple years after that, I got interested in being trained to serve the Tridentine low and sung Mass, so I did that, but up to now I haven't had a chance to actually serve. Usually because I'm also singing chant at these Masses, which I generally prefer to serving. (That being said, singing in a chant schola should be considered an extension of serving at the altar.)
Pages: 1 2