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12 confessions of a former altar server

“Do this in memory of me.” DINGALINGALINGALINGALING.

BEING AN ALTAR server is a rite of passage for many Irish children – your first ‘job’ (so to speak).

We might have looked all holy kneeling by the altar, but we were really thinking about everything but the prayers.

1. Most of the time, our reasons for becoming servers had little to do with religion

4374573756_ce3a78c4fb_b Source: Flickr/jamesbradley

Religion was a draw for some, yes, but others might have been tempted by a potential half day at school to do the training.

Cadbury-Selection-Santa Source: Scoilnet

Some may have liked the performance aspect of it. Even more might have heard about the selection boxes at Christmas and the money after weddings. There was much to be gained, in other words.

2. The gowns were ALWAYS far too long, or far too short

altargown Source: churchsupplies.com

Either you were tripping over yourself like a fool, or everyone could see your box fresh Nike Air Max (ruining your carefully cultivated air of piety).

3. The job with the most responsibility was ringing the bells

There is an altar serving hierarchy, you know.

DIGITAL CAMERA Source: Wikimedia

Every ex-server knows there’s nothing like giving the bell a good strong ring after ‘Do this in memory of me’. Nothing.

4. The chance to swing the thurible was also pretty coveted

Thurible Source: Wikimedia

Oh you want incense? We’ll give you incense.

5. But struggling with the big cross was the WORST

bigcross Source: Wikimedia

This was the dream:

  1. Lead the procession through the church to the altar, while carrying the big cross.
  2. Successfully get up the altar steps without tripping on your robes.
  3. Place the big cross into its assigned slot on the first go.

The reality, however, was standing there struggling to slot the cross in for a good two minutes, while the congregation gawked at you.

6. Shoddy bell-ringing was not to be tolerated

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You had one job. One!

7. There was always that one altar server who couldn’t handle the incense

India Christmas Source: Rajesh Kumar Singh/Press Association Images

This boy? He secretly wants to puke his ring. Because you can’t stand in a cloud of incense without secretly wanting to puke your ring.

8. There was absolutely nowhere to hide if you started giggling

Did the soloist hit a terrible bum note? Did the priest trip a little going up the steps?

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Was someone incredibly late with their “Lord graciously hear us”? Did a parishioner make a hames of their Prayer of the Faithful?

mH0jEDu Source: Imgur

You had to find your zen, and fast.

9. And if you got lost, everyone could see you

You didn’t know when to sit or kneel so you started walking back to your seat but it was kneeling time and oh god oh god oh GOD.

giphy Source: Giphy

10. Churches that had a gong instead of a regular bell were special

churchgong Source: thecrypt.ie

Who wouldn’t want to bash a bell with a mallet? We ask you.

11. Critiquing servers while attending Mass in another church was a must

GERMANY POPE VISIT Source: Associated Press

“Oh, did she just take her little bow right at the altar, instead of going to the steps? Not what I would do, but… Interesting.”

12. And getting the few euros for serving a wedding or a funeral was key

tumblr_n2jzfsRrV21tvyxvwo1_500 Source: Tumblr

This is why we do this, kids.

More: 8 awkward moments you’ll always have at Mass>

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