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kritiper's avatar

Are all Catholic boys expected to be altar boys?

Asked by kritiper (19533points) March 19th, 2017

As asked.

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8 Answers

zenvelo's avatar

No. Out of about 20 boys in my third grade parochial class, only 6 or 7 of us became altar boys. Most only did it for a couple years.

RedDeerGuy1's avatar

edit delete.

ragingloli's avatar

Only the good looking ones.

stanleybmanly's avatar

I don’t know what the deal is these days, but when I was coming up, it was strictly a volunteer gig, with benefits like getting out of school for funerals and pigging out on cake at wedding feasts and wakes. Altar boys got “envelopes” after weddings as well. I loved the funerals, especially the trips to the graveyard and standing with the priest over the open grave. There were always 2 altar boys flanking the priest. One held the “sprinkler” and the other carried the censer suspended from a short chain. The priest would busy himself rattling in Latin and intermittently making the sign of the cross over the coffin then reach for the “sprinkler” to douse the coffin with holy water. A bit more Latin then more sprinkling. And here is where you could determine whether the altar boys were pros or rookies. Because the moment the priest freed the hands of the boy with the sprinkler, the 2 boys had between 40 seconds and a minute to fire up the incense in the censer and get enough “smoke” going to impress the crowd. With the pros in attendance, the priest could pivot with the confidence of a surgeon in an operating room to find censer chain planted in one of his hands and the bracket of the otherwise hot censer presented for his grasp with the other. A precision “handoff” was a joy to watch. Done right, the priest could rotate in one smooth motion, accept the smoking censor and continue turning til facing the grave. At which point, he would halt, solemnly swing the censer slowly back and forth over the deceased and pronounce in English to make you quake “Deliver me O Lord from everlasting death in that awful day when the heavens and the earth will be shaken and You will come to judge the world by fire.”

Now THAT’S the sort of stuff that once you hear it, you NEVER forget. They’ve got you for life.

jca's avatar

I’m not Catholic, but from what my Catholic friends tell me, it’s no longer “altar boys” as girls serve at the altar, too.

si3tech's avatar

@jca I am Catholic and the girls do serve at the alter and have for some time.

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