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mellyrose
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Posted: March 07 2009 at 12:40pm | IP Logged Quote mellyrose

I'm not sure where this should go, so please move if necessary.

What is the minimum age of altar boys at your parish? We have mostly old men that are altar servers at our parish, which I have always found odd. The family mass (and probably teen mass) are the only ones that non-adults have been allowed to serve. The pastor just declared that nobody under the age of 11 can serve -- which has devastated a young little boy I know (he's 8 and has been serving for a year).

I'm just curious what the minimum age is at your parish, and what the ratio is between children & teens vs. grown men.

Thanks!



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guitarnan
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Posted: March 07 2009 at 12:53pm | IP Logged Quote guitarnan

We have servers in grades 5 and up. Very few men (and only if no kids are there), perhaps 6 or 7 teens.

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trish
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Posted: March 07 2009 at 12:53pm | IP Logged Quote trish

My husband is in charge of the altar servers in our parish. He typically starts training them when they are 8. I think the only qualification is that they have received their First Holy Communion. Of course he takes into consideration the maturity of the child but he has 8 -17 year olds. There is also an adult server too at the same time. Mind you our parish is very small. The town is only about 6,000 people.

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Angie Mc
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Posted: March 07 2009 at 2:19pm | IP Logged Quote Angie Mc

This doesn't give a specific start age, but it does give Guidelines for Altar Servers per USCCB.

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joann10
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Posted: March 07 2009 at 2:34pm | IP Logged Quote joann10

In our church the boys learn in the summer after they finish 6th grade. They then serve from 7-12 grades.
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Mary G
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Posted: March 07 2009 at 2:55pm | IP Logged Quote Mary G

It really is up to the Pastor ... ours in Denver wouldn't let under 9yos serve while here our parish is 7yos and up; but I've known priests who knew the kids and would make an exception ....



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Lisbet
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Posted: March 07 2009 at 4:36pm | IP Logged Quote Lisbet

My sons have all begun serving after their FHC, so around 7 or so (usually only as siders at first, and then during daily mass...) We have boys as young as 7, and men in their 40's - all serving together most of the time.

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mellyrose
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Posted: March 07 2009 at 5:25pm | IP Logged Quote mellyrose

Thank you for the replies! I guess there's quite the range of "normal" out there.

I grew up with the idea that altar servers began serving the year after they received Holy Communion, but that doesn't really mean much does it? I hope that the transition in our parish happens smoothly and with proper discernment by all involved.

Thanks again for responding!

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allegiance_mom
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Posted: March 07 2009 at 6:55pm | IP Logged Quote allegiance_mom

I just wanted to add, for the little boy who was devastated to have to wait to serve after he'd been serving:

Where we live there are several opportunities for altar boys to serve outside the parish. We have a convent of cloistered Carmelites and another of Dominicans. They only use male servers at their Masses. We also have a shrine which is not a true parish, but does have a large congregation (mostly pilgrims). My friend's sons are servers there. Finally, there has been an opportunity for my son to serve the Latin Mass, after being trained.

So I just wanted to add my encouragement. If the little boy and his parents want to continue his altar service, perhaps they could "think outside the box" and look at other venues in their diocese.

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JodieLyn
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Posted: March 07 2009 at 8:05pm | IP Logged Quote JodieLyn

First Communion is the end of 2nd grade and they can start training the beginning of 4th grade and generally start serving in the spring of their 4th grade year.

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Veronica's Veil
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Posted: March 09 2009 at 8:09am | IP Logged Quote Veronica's Veil

Our Pastor prefers to start them during the 5th grade but he does take the homeschoolers in 4th grade due to their maturity levels usually being somewhat higher...
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Posted: March 10 2009 at 5:58am | IP Logged Quote sewcrazy

Our parish rules are the same as Veronica's Veil. Only the 7 am mass has men serving, the rest are children. We have a large number of girls also, probably more than boys, but we have been trying to back away from that this past year. To give girls a "job", our parish has now formed a bell choir, so when girls inquire about learning to serve Mass, we first play up the bell choir

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Sarah
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Posted: March 10 2009 at 6:43am | IP Logged Quote Sarah

After FHC, they start out just holding a candle and advance as they are capable and mature enough to handle it. We have ranks that the boys move through.

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