You could say that I am a procrastinator, but, even for me, 50 years is a bit much.

Both my brothers, Phil and Dave, served with dedication and skill as altar boys at our church. Although I am the eldest, somehow I never made the cut for that position. I can't recall if I forgot to sign up or if I tried to use Pig Latin instead of plain Latin for the responses.

This summer, about 50 years later, I returned a call from a woman who is very active in our church. All I can say is that I am extremely fortunate that she is not a real estate agent. She is such a good salesperson, I would probably own several lots in the Okefenokee Swamp.

As it was, she was calling on behalf of our pastor to see if I would become an altar server for the Saturday morning Mass. I agreed and two days later, I was getting a crash course from Father Moran.

Fortunately, the duties of a server are relatively simple. Ring the bell to signal the start of the Mass, hold the sacramentary while the priest reads the prayers, present the wine and water, help the priest by pouring water for the ceremonial washing of his hands, clear the altar after communion and do not trip over the long white garment that I wear. (I'm still a bit concerned about the tripping part.)

The opportunity to help reminded me of a quote by St. Francis de Sales. "There is nothing small in the service of God. Be faithful in small things and God will see that you will succeed in those of greater importance."

Anything and everything we can do for God's sake is a special blessing whether it is great or small - or even if it is done a half century late.


Serving God is a full-time opportunity.