By JudithRecently the penultimate diocese in the United States to ban girls from serving at Mass threw in the towel. This leaves the diocese of Lincoln, NE as the sole hold out. (Check out the post by Regular Guy).
So what, you say? I say it matters a great deal.
Here’s where I look behind me for the folks with the barrels of tar and feathers for suggesting this, but girls naturally take to serving at Mass, because we still naturally serve in most aspects of the rest of our lives. We serve our husbands and children, we serve guests at dinner, we serve cake at the kids’ birthday parties. We serve on the PTA, we serve in caring for elderly parents, we serve in making a house a home. We’re Marthas more often than we’re Marys.
So why isn’t it a good thing that we’re serving at Mass if we’re so naturally inclined? Because we’re shoving out one of the greatest sources of vocations and in doing so we risk losing the very Mass at which we want to serve. No priests, no Mass. Let’s face it, many young boys have to be coaxed into becoming altar servers in the first place and if they think that someone else will do the job, they’ll gladly pass. And, many boys of that age don’t want to be around “yucky” girls and will refuse to be a part of something that includes them.
Time and again we’ve heard that many priests have initially heard the call to vocation when they were serving at the altar. (The number of vocations coming out of Lincoln gives this credence.) If boys never get the chance to serve at Mass, how many will delay or ignore a call to the priesthood?
Can’t the Mass be the one place where we put down our “Martha” and take up our “Mary.” Let’s give ourselves a chance to pray and meditate, to reflect and listen. Let’s let the men do the serving, just this once.