UP Catholic 10 27 2017 E Edition Page 2

2 October 27, 2017 THE U.P. CATHOLIC SENIOR STORIES www.upcatholic.org Rev. Abraham Mupparathara MCBS Your Parishioners & Friends at + St. Paul the Apostle + Sacred Heart + Keweenaw Catholic Missions Father Abraham, May God bless you abundantly for your dedication and commitment to the Holy Priesthood. We are blessed to have you here with us. BY ANGELA JOHNSON THE U.P. CATHOLIC Joseph Gabe remembers with pride being an altar boy as a child. Now, in his mid-70s he is helping to revive the ministry for young people at Sacred Heart Parish in LAnse. Most Sunday mornings the parish has a total of eight servers ranging in age from eight to 77, the result of a mentoring pro- gram where senior-aged men with decades of experience are sharing their knowledge of the ministry and their love of Jesus Christ with kids. The initiative called Knights of the Altar was started a few years ago by Baraga County Catholic Commu- nitys tri-parish pastor Father Corey Litzner and seminarian Michael Kowalski in hopes of bringing back a strong, faith-filled altar server program, said Gabe who serves as program coordinator. As these young men learn and understand the steps in serving they can advance to the position of senior-knight, he said. We try to acknowledge and reward them at each step with special medals, public recognition and even a fun-filled server picnic at our home on Huron Bay. We attempt to guide, familiarize and coor- dinate these youngsters with procedures and protocol appropriate to their age levels and capabilities, Gabe said. Prayer, patience and good humor are key. Gabe is one of four adult servers at Sacred Heart Parish, all of whom took part in a six- week training session themselves to learn to guide the young people. County-wide there are currently 23 established servers and nine ad- ditional youngsters coming into the program this year. Serving at Mass is serving our Lord, said Father Litzner. First, servers help the priest who is serving in the person of Christ. But also, their dedication and reverence at Mass helps the people in the congregation to enter more fully into the Mass. Servers represent the people. Father Litzner added that he is grateful to the senior mentors for taking the lead in this initiative, allowing him to continue growing the parish in other areas. Senior citizens striving to live their faith can often feel despair if they see little involve- ment from the youth, he said. But pairing the generations in this way gives new life to both the older people and the young kids, he said. Although gathering 23 youngsters to prac- tice for special liturgies can be a lot of work, Gabe said: I love teaching these young kids. In addition to helping them learn to concen- trate on what needs to be done at the altar, he said he hopes to help them focus on the Lord now and later in life. We hope and pray that by these youth faithfully serving, one or more, or all, may have a calling from God to the priesthood and will answer the call, he said. For others Gabe said he hopes they come back to be married in the Church and to raise their children. Seth Francois, a 16-year-old server, said he definitely feels closest to Christ when he is standing near the tabernacle especially during the consecration at Mass when the priest raises the Precious Body. That is when my prayer is the strongest, Francois said, adding that it is an honor to be an altar server. Just as he looks up to the senior-aged mentors in the Knights of the Altar program, Francois said he enjoys seeing the new kids looking up to him. This series of articles aims to highlight the unique ways people in their senior years are living and sharing the Catholic faith. To make suggestions for future articles, please email Angela Johnson at ajohnson496@charter.net. ANGELA JOHNSON THE U.P. CATHOLIC Each Sunday at Sacred Heart Parish in L'Anse three or four adult men and as many adolescent boys join forces as altar servers thanks to a mentoring program called "Knights of the Altar" that aims to draw generations together modeling service to the Lord Knights of the Altar" program provides mentorship to youth Joseph Gabe Got News? Send it to: news@dioceseofmarquette.org

Previous Page
Next Page