Why I served, why I stopped, and why I serve again
As a girl, I was always mesmerized as I watched the altar servers begin Mass. My dad would hoist me up on his shoulder as I watched them travel by. I knew that I would become an altar server too. So the day when the sign up sheet landed on my desk during religion class, I was the first to sign up. I could not wait to walk down the aisles with a candle and sit on the altar with the priest and deacon. I can still vividly remember my first Mass as an altar server. I had gotten a new haircut and stood at 4 foot 4. My fellow altar server was a senior named Christian who stood at 6 foot 2. I was so nervous, but he helped me through the Mass. When the Mass came to a close, I was surrounded by family and friends congratulating me on my new accomplishment.
But when I began middle school, I lost the child-like joy I felt when I served each Sunday. I lost my love toward God. I felt that God did not love me. Therefore, my stubborn self decided that He did not deserve my love back. I began to dread going to Mass with my family. It felt more like a burden. I would pretend to be sick to try to convince my parents not to bring me. It was not until my little brother, Nathan, began to serve that I changed my mind. I wanted to be a role model for him, so I put my best foot forward and continued to serve. And that was one of the best decisions I have ever made. I began to befriend my fellow altar servers and became closer with the people who attended my Mass. For the first time in a long time, I looked forward to Mass.
As a person who is naturally fidgety, I found altar serving to be a way I could pay attention in church and still move around. I started to pay attention to the readings and homilies and dove deeper into the teachings of God. I began to pray at night and even joined a Bible study at school. Altar serving has brought me great things and accomplishments, such as the Bishop Altar Server Award in 2017, the Christian Leadership Institute, and the diocesan Youth Board. Most importantly, however, it rejuvenated my love of God.