Archbishop Jason Gordon has asked altar servers of the Archdiocese to make a commitment to “daily sacrifice”. He will be meeting with the executive of the Trinidad and Tobago Altar Servers Council (TTAC) to discuss other matters for implementation.
Delivering the homily at the Pontifical Mass for altar servers Sunday, November 13 at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, Port of Spain he said, “We have to spend time everyday training to be a good Christian.” The training to make sacrifices was part of persevering and “pushing on”.
Commenting on the messages in the weekend’s Gospel of Luke 21: 5–19, he said a time will come when people die but their destination is not this earth but beyond.
Touching on the tumultuous times the young people lived through with the Covid-19 pandemic which prevented them from going to school, being with friends and doing extra-curricular activities, he commented in the gospel Jesus is saying, “even when our whole world is shaken and we get turned upside down, do not be afraid”. When unpredictable things happen in life, like Covid, he stressed these were the times to remember God is present.
Archbishop Gordon dialogued with the altar servers with questions related to the gospel messages such as what is meant by endurance. Using some of their responses he said, “The reading is teaching us that in the real big and bad things that happen in our lives, Jesus is with us so keep pushing on. Don’t give up. Don’t stop…keep going forward because God is with you.”
A daily sacrifice is when they gave up something they wanted or something easy for the sake of the love of God. He advised, “And that is how we build endurance. We build endurance by doing a daily sacrifice. Think of the sacrifice that Jesus did. He gave everything He had for you and for me. What we are asking for is a daily sacrifice.”
Archbishop Gordon instructed the altar servers to close their eyes for a moment and speak to Jesus about making a daily sacrifice. He clarified that the promise they were making was not to him. Afterwards they were instructed, “when you are sure you are ready to make that commitment, I would invite you to stand”.
Archbishop Gordon prayed that as the altar servers began a new stage in their journey as servers, they recognise it is Him they are serving not only on the altar but every day of their lives.
The altar servers’ pledge was recited at the end of the Mass. Paul Phillip, head altar server, Sacred Heart RC, La Brea gave an address and thanks.
Tokens of appreciation were presented to altar servers who have kept the altar servers’ ministry alive in their respective vicariates and the Archdiocese. They were: Kristian Luces, St Francis, Sangre Grande, Eastern Vicariate; Christian Pereira, Our Lady of Fatima, Curepe, Suburban Vicariate; Khyla Nunez, St Peter’s Carenage, Northern Vicariate; Kree George, St Anthony’s Tabaquite, Central Vicariate; Kelly Hospedales, St Benedict’s, La Romaine, Southern Vicariate and Curlita Phillip, Tobago.
There was a brief meeting at the Cathedral with Archbishop Gordon, altar servers and Episcopal Delegate for Youth, Taresa Best-Downes. A member of the TTAC said the Archbishop spoke about the altar server ministry moving away from being a ministry on the altar to a ministry in Church.
“Something that builds up the people in church of any age, obviously they will have to learn the technical part of being an altar server still, in a way it is something to grow your faith instead of just coming to the altar week after week and serving.”
They were asked to implement an exercise for all altar servers’ groups of making a daily sacrifice—giving up something or doing something for someone. “He was telling us leaders we have to start it and we have to lead it for our own altar servers to do it.”
A head altar server said Archbishop Gordon wanted them to have a closer bond together. “He wants in the next two years that servers from one parish could go and serve in another parish and vice versa to become a ministry… and not just coming to church on a Sunday morning.”
A meeting with the TTAC is scheduled for November 24.
—Lara Pickford Gordon