Photo courtesy of Roman Catholic Diocese of Portland

BANGOR — In June, over 40 children and teens participated in a special altar server training held at St. John Church in Bangor. The session was led by Deacon Timothy Dougherty, seminarian Matthew Valles, and parish volunteers.

“As parishes work to restore our ministries to pre-pandemic levels, the energy, spirit, and generosity of the youth who attended this training serve as hopeful signs and a beautiful witness to all our parishioners as we move forward in faith,” said Monsignor Andrew Dubois, pastor of St. Paul the Apostle Parish of which St. John Church is a part.

The training included a blessing of the altar servers by Monsignor Dubois and Fr. Bruce Siket of St. Paul the Apostle Parish, reviewing the principles of altar serving as outlined in the parish manual, practice on setting up the altar, learning vocabulary, practicing the procession at the start and end of Mass, and altar server games.

“The training was a lot of fun to put together,” said Valles. “The hope is that the training will help more children take an active role in serving the Mass as well as help families attend more regularly. This is simply one of many efforts to help parishioners return to Mass since the pandemic.”

The experience of the youth participating varied from high schoolers who have served for years to those who have never served before.

“I thought it would be scary and too much to remember, but it was so fun,” said one eight-year-old who participate. “Now I definitely want to be an altar server!”

“It is so important to help our children get involved in their faith and participate in Mass,” said a parent. “It was beautiful to see how excited they are to be a part of this ministry!”