MAY 20, 2018
“Everything that the Father has is mine”
GOD BLESS OUR GRADUATES
We are honoring and celebrating our Immaculate Conception Parish 2018 High School Graduates at our 5:00 PM Mass
We wish them well, & offer our prayers for their success in the future.
Daughter of Jim & Marcy Calliguri
Son of James & Elizabeth Daleiden
Son of Dave & Mary Dooley
Son of Scott & Theresa Duban
Son of Shannon & Kristen Geer
Daughter of Janet Jacobs
Son of Mike & Andrea Kaderlik
Daughter of Tim & Kim Kes
Daughter of Thomas & Jenni Koktavy
Son of Brian & Cathy Mikel
Daughter of Paula and Trent Vinge and David Sickmann
Son of Bruce & Ann Simon
Son of Tim & +Lisa Skluzacek
Daughter of Scott & Theresa Sticha
Son of Bridget Leirer
Faith is not knowing what the future holds, but knowing Who holds the future.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~
We offer our special prayers and Congratulations to the following students, who will graduate from Holy Cross Catholic School on Thursday, May 24, 2018
Dustin Anderson, Daughter of Dennis & Denise Anderson
John Benolkin, Son of Jake & Sara Benolkin
Maggie Flicek, Daughter of Joe & Melissa Flicek
Ellie Fredrickson, Daughter of Duane & Anne Fredrickson
Macey Hager, Daughter of Jon & Selena Hager
Maggie Havlicek, Daughter of Tim & Molly Havlicek
Abigail Kugler, Daughter of Keith & Diana Kugler
Maria McCabe, Daughter of Tom & Barb McCabe
Levi Meyer, Son of Ed & Dana Murphy-Meyer
Carter Pavek, Son of Joe & Sarah Pavek
Nolan Revak, Son of Justin & Jill Revak
Fernando Reyes, Son of Francisco Reys & Erika Rodriguiz
Justin Simones, Son of Jon & Jessica Simones
Abigail Wight, Daughter of Bob & Jennifer Wight
Fr. Nick VanDenBroeke
Pastor’s column for May 20, 2018
Altar Boys, Cassocks, and Sacristans
Before Vatican II (1962-1965), all parishes had altar boys and they wore cassocks (black robes). Following Vatican II, many parishes went to boys and girls serving, and the servers wearing albs (white robes). We are now seeing a growing trend of parishes returning to cassocks and altar boys. There are two primary reasons for this.
1) The altar servers are an extension of the priest’s own ministry of serving the altar of God, thus, it is fitting that they, like priests, should be male. 2) Vocations to the priesthood are often more abundant from parishes where the altar boys wear cassocks.
To begin discussing this topic, we need to begin by asking: Why do we have altar servers at all? What is their ministry or service for? The fact is, we could quite easily celebrate Mass without altar servers (I do it almost every day for daily Mass). However, having altar servers does add a lot to the Mass, for they are able to carry things in procession, bring things to and from the altar, hold things for the priest, and generally assist the priest in anything he needs. That being said, we cannot look at altar serving simply as a practical “we need someone to carry or hold this, and anybody will do”. Rather, we need to understand altar serving as a role (or ministry) at Mass which is an extension of the priest’s own ministry.
Just as the ministry of the priest is not merely practical, “we just need someone to stand in front of everyone and lead prayers”, but rather is very symbolic as the priest stands in persona Christi, in the person of Christ. So too, an altar server is not just functional, but also symbolic, as they are an extension of the priest’s ministry at the altar.
This is the reason that altar boys have traditionally worn cassocks to serve at Mass. A cassock is clerical (or priestly) attire. When the servers wear cassocks, they almost look like little priests by what they wear. This historically was very intentional, to visibly remind us that the server’s ministry flows from the priest’s ministry.
Note: I’ve written a whole series of articles on the priesthood, which I will begin publishing in the bulletin soon, and in these articles I explain why the priesthood is reserved only to men. In short: because only a man can be ordained in the person of Christ, who himself was a man. Christ is the bridegroom and the Church is his bride. And only a man can be a bridegroom. This is why only a man can be a “sacramental” presence of Christ, i.e. a priest. And flowing from this, the altar servers assist with the priestly ministry. Thus, it is appropriate that the altar servers be boys and wear clerical attire, showing their union with the priest.
There is something awe inspiring about seeing boys wearing cassocks in the sanctuary. I have had several parishioners make this comment to me when they have seen some of the boys wearing them for Mass, and how fitting and sacred it feels to see the altar servers this way. I think the reason it feels more sacred or more fitting is that we subconsciously understand this powerful connection between the priest and the altar servers when we see them wearing cassocks.
Additionally, boys being invited to be altar servers has always been an important invitation to them to seriously consider the priesthood as a possible vocation that God might be calling them to. Statistics show that 70% of priests were altar servers when they were younger. This closeness to the priest helped foster a desire to consider the priesthood for themselves. For me personally, being an altar server was very instrumental in my own vocational discernment, and I want to strongly encourage this for all the boys here at our parish of Immaculate Conception.
This taking on the identity of the priest by wearing cassocks also changes how the boys approach serving. As someone recently commented to me after seeing the boys serving in cassocks, “It seemed to me that they served with a greater dignity, that they took their role more seriously.” I remember that this was my own personal experience too when I began wearing a cassock in seminary. It changes the way you see yourself and what you are doing at Mass. It deepens the boy’s sense of the sacred as he realizes his closeness to the priest at Mass.
For these reasons, I have decided to make two changes to our altar server program: Our servers will now begin wearing cassocks at Mass, and serving will be limited to boys. Additionally, I have decided to lower the age to become an altar server. Once a boy has received his first communion he may begin serving.
We will be implementing these changes on the weekend of Corpus Christi Sunday (June 3).
I’m grateful to the donor who came forward to purchase the new cassocks for our parish. Thank you for your generosity.
I’m also excited to announce that we have already begun a wonderful new opportunity for girls and their mothers to minister at Mass as sacristans. For several months now, some of the homeschool girls have been helping out as sacristans at the Friday morning Mass and have asked about helping out on Sundays as well. Therefore, I’ve decided to expand our current group of weekend sacristans and open this opportunity to others who are interested.
I’m calling them “The Sacristans of St. Therese”. St. Therese of Lisieux (The Little Flower) loved Jesus and the Mass very much. One of her roles in the convent was to be the sacristan—to prepare and care for all the things used for Mass. St. Therese served in this ministry with great love, knowing that she was serving Jesus.
One of St. Therese’s sisters wrote about her: “[Therese] loved to get the altar ready, especially on the days when we had exposition off the Blessed Sacrament. For a long time she was sacristan, and it was edifying to see the respect and delight with which she touched the sacred vessels…She touched corporals and purificators lovingly; she said she felt she was touching the child Jesus’ linen. When she was getting things ready for the following day’s Mass, she liked to look at herself in the chalice and paten, and imagine that the divine species would rest on her since her image was reflected in the gold.”
In the past it was common for a parish to have an Altar Society, which cared for the sacred vessels and linens for Mass. I’m so grateful for how dedicated some of our parishioners have been serving in this role for many years, and I’m excited to expand the opportunity to the young ladies of our parish as Sacristans of St. Therese.
Please pray for me, as I pray daily for all of you. And please pray for an increase in vocations to the priesthood and religious life.
God bless you,