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If you have to sneeze on the altar do so quietly and turn
Your head away from the Holy Sacrament. Please carry
A handkerchief in the pocket of your trousers. No jeans.
Wear good shoes. No sneakers. Arrive 30 minutes early
Minimum: 5 minutes early is 25 minutes late. The bells,
As a crucial part of the Mass, are rung firmly but gently.
It is the unaware altar server who rings them too loudly.
Be attentive. You too are an integral aspect of the Mass.
You are witnessing and abetting a miracle. Always treat
The Mass that way. Your service allows the miraculous
Easier passage into this plane. Never let your cassock be
Stained or sullied. Similarly your surplice. Do not under
Any circumstances drink the wine or eat the consecrated
Hosts. You will be tempted to do so. Resist the Tempter.
You may be late for, or fail to appear for, only one Mass.
If you are late for or miss a second Mass, your privileges
Are suspended. Two boys in nine years have been ousted.
Don’t become the third. Honor the parents who are proud
Of their son and his service as witness to Holy Sacrament.
It is a gift to serve on the altar. Treat your service as a gift.
Listen to the Holy Spirit as you serve. The Mass is ancient
And comes to us directly from the hand and words of God
When He assumed human form in the person of the Christ.
In and through and suffusing every aspect of the quotidian
Is the sacred. Treat Father with respect, but be aware of his
Own complex humanity. The sacristy is not a locker room:
There is no horseplay, no vulgar language, and no shouting.
If you have a problem, or a question, of any sort, or if there
Is anything whatsoever that you wish to speak to me about,
Be assured that I will keep it in confidence, and listen with
Respect for your own miraculous existence, and admirable
Service to the Church Eternal and particularly to our parish.
Finally as to the length of the hair, any length is acceptable,
As long as the hair is noticeably clean. Christ had long hair,
But you can be sure that His was clean. Boys—be like Him.