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  • The altar server and the paper boy

    This week, the Catholic Herald received an email from a reader who shared how he is inspired by the altar server he sees almost daily. Here’s what he said:

    Although we are long-term parishioners at the Basilica of St. Mary in Old Town, my wife and I attend daily Mass at St. Rita Church in Alexandria at 7 a.m. We were discussing today how wonderful it is that a young boy, probably 10 years old or younger, serves as an altar boy for that early Mass every day. Every day! He has been doing this all year as far as we can remember. We don’t know his name but what a wonderful young boy he is and how very blessed we feel to see him serve Pastor Gee and the parochial vicars to start his and our mornings.

    He has a particular impact with me. When I was a bit older, 13 to be exact, I started delivering a paper route in Detroit, Mich., for the Detroit Free Press. I had to be out on the road by 6 a.m., every day, 365 days a year. I did that for five years until I was ready for college. There was never a day off regardless of the weather that included plenty of rain, snow, and very bitter cold. But there is one huge difference between my life experience and this young altar boy: I was paid very well by my customers. At Christmas, the tips were an absolute windfall. 

    For this young boy, he never seems to take a day off either.  More importantly, he does it without any earthly reward that I am aware of! I’m sure there won’t be any big Christmas bonus like I used to enjoy.

    I am certain that the 10-20 Mass attendees, like us, also admire this young boy and whomever his parents are. If more knew about him, it would not surprise me that attendance at this early Mass would increase. Living Saints, no matter how young, help draw us all closer to the Lord!

    The Catholic Herald reached out to the parish to find this dedicated altar server, but his parents prefer that he continue to volunteer outside the limelight. Still, his mother hoped that the email would be shared. “It is a lovely testimony to how our actions as Christians reach farther than we realize,” she said. 

    © Arlington Catholic Herald 2021