Patrick McPartland/Staff Photographer - Altar server Dominic Cavaretta continue's to serve at two parishes, St. Amelia, Tonawanda, and the Carmelite Monestary, Buffalo.
Most altar servers begin serving in fifth or sixth-grade and then continue for a few years before other obligations take precedence in the high school years. For 16 year-old Dominic Cavaretta, altar serving has been such a priority that he serves at not one, but two places of worship.
“It feels like I’m more involved in the Mass, closer to the actual sacrament on the altar,” he said.
Cavaretta became an altar server at St. Amelia Parish in Tonawanda about once a month when he was in sixth-grade.
“I was always interested,” he said. “I was always watching the servers before I was able to serve, watching them and just kind of interested in the whole thing. That’s kind of what got me started wanting to serve at St. Amelia’s.”
Cavaretta admits he was nervous the first time he served at Mass, but after six years of experience he has become comfortable.
“My first Mass, I was actually kind of behind everyone just watching what they were doing and then when I was on the altar for the first time, that was very nerve-wracking,” he said. “I was pretty nervous for that, but I got used to it. After a couple of Masses, I was fine.”
Four years ago, after his family began attending Mass at the Carmelite monastery chapel during the week, Cavaretta began serving at the Wednesday morning Mass there each week, in addition to serving at most novena Masses.
“He’s just a very, very reverent, well-rounded young man,” said Msgr. David LiPuma, chaplain for the monastery. “He’s very respectful, he’s very helpful to the Carmelite monastery.”
Cavaretta is a two-time recipient of the Bishop’s Altar Server of the Year Award, which honors an altar server from each parish for their dedication and service. Msgr. LiPuma, who nominated Cavaretta for the award, said that he came to mind right away when he was selecting a nominee.
“He’s a good example of a young Christian man, someone who enjoys sports, activities, and being a member of the Boy Scouts, but is very involved in his faith and involved in Church.”
In spite of having won the award twice, Cavaretta is humble about his reason for receiving it.
“It is just their choice,” he said “There’s really nothing that you have to do except just do your best as a server.”
In addition to his work as an altar server, Cavaretta is also a member of two youth groups within the diocese, at Blessed Sacrament in Tonawanda and St. Josaphat Parish in Cheektowaga.
“Two of my friends got me started in each one,” he said. “They went to them and suggested them, so I tried it out and I ended up liking it. I’m still going so it’s a lot of fun interacting with other kids your age and sharing the same faith.”
Cavaretta, who is home schooled, said that he plans on continuing with altar serving at St. Amelia’s as long as possible and at the Carmelite Monastery, which has no age limit, through college.
“I would love to see him be a priest someday, but no pressure,” said Msgr. LiPuma.
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