I know it feels like we are still right in the middle of Lent.

However, with the Fourth Sunday of Lent this past weekend, we are now less than two weeks out before Palm Sunday.

We need lots of servers for Palm Sunday - all Masses - and for Holy Thursday, Easter Vigil, and all the Masses on Easter Sunday.  These are the highest holy days of the entire church year.  Even if you don't serve regularly (but have trained and are an active server), please consider stepping up to serve these weekends.

I will rehearse with everyone before all the Palm Sunday Masses; there is also a mandatory rehearsal for those participating in the Holy Thursday, Good Friday and Easter Vigil liturgies.  No rehearsals are needed for Easter Sunday, but we still need as many servers as possible then, too. 

Contact me if you have questions.

I'm leaving up the reminders for Lent:

1.  There is no Gloria during Lent.  This means that the Collect (opening prayer) comes right after the Penitential Rite (Lord have mercy), so you have to be ready sooner.

2.  Ash Wednesday we will have three Masses: 7:30 am, 12:10 pm and 7:00 pm.  We do need servers for all the Masses, although primarily for the 12:10 and 7 pm ones.  The sign-up sheet is in the back - please sign up if you can.

3.  Fridays of Lent (except for Good Friday) we will have Mass at 5:30 in the main church, so it would be good to have servers for that Mass as well.  Following Mass, we will have the potluck Lenten supper at 6:00 in the social hall, followed by Stations of the Cross at 7pm.  Servers are encouraged to participate in Stations as well - that earns you a bead, if you haven't done it yet!  As many servers as wish to vest and process are welcome, but we always need at least a cross, and ideally two candles to escort the cross as well.  Some Fridays there may be Adoration and Benediction following Stations.  More on this later.

General reminders:

1. Short on servers:

    a) We are a still short on active servers.  I did get three new servers at the last training, who have been serving the last couple weeks, and we are happy to have them.  Hopefully there will be more after the next training around the time of First Communion.

    b) In the meantime, I'm asking everyone to step up as often as possible and assist at Mass.  Although we can manage with one or two servers, three or more is better (looks far better).  Also, the more people help out, the more breaks others can take as needed.  Keep in mind that we do need someone with experience to serve with the new people for awhile until they get comfortable enough to serve along (which won't be for many weeks!).

    c) ALSO - if you know someone - in religious ed, or otherwise - who might be interested in training to serve, please encourage them!  The next training should be right after 1st Communion, but if I get enough interest (3 or more) I will set up a special training session sooner.

2. As I noted last month, we have a few liturgical amendments to pay attention to.  I'm going to keep these in here for awhile till everyone gets used to them.

    a) Kneeling after Lamb of God.  Per Bishop, this is liturgically correct.  A lot of people in the congregation may be confused, because many years ago, Bishop Kettler told everyone to stand.  The congregation will be advised about this some time soon, but the timing is up to Fr. Ross.  In the meantime, however, the servers will implement it.  So, as soon as the Lamb of God finishes (usually sung), all of us should kneel down again on the sanctuary steps.  Stay there while the EM's go forward and start to receive Communion.  When it's time to go line up in the aisle (as the musicians come down, usually), stand up and go to the aisle as usual. 

    b) we are starting to wait to clear the altar until the end of Communion.  When Fr. Ross starts back to the altar, stand up (everyone should be kneeling at their chairs), and a couple servers step up and retrieve the Roman Missal and the bookstand off the altar.  You can also assist Fr. in removing the other items from the altar, but only as directed. 

    c) When lining up for the procession at the beginning of Mass, move up toward the last set of pews and stand by.  Fr. Ross will advise when he wants you to start (it may not be as soon as the singing starts - sometimes he wants to wait a bit).

    d) At the end of Mass, as we process back out to the back of the church - when we get to the vestibule (toward the back wall), stop and turn the crucifix around to face the front of the church.  Candles should stand on either side of the cross.  Wait there.  Fr. Ross - and Bishop, usually - will stop and bow to the crucifix.  After that, you may go put things away.

    e) Try to remember that someone needs to light the candles on the altar at the beginning of Mass AND extinguish  them again at the end of Mass.  That is supposed to be the server's job.  I realize that occasionally the musicians or sacristan will do it, but we are supposed to do it.  If you are right there and ready to do it, you should not have someone else jumping in.  Also, I'm trying to get the word out for them to leave it to the servers - but that means someone has to take responsibility and make it happen, too!


 I'm leaving up the reminders from Fall/Winter as I don't think everyone is doing all of this yet:

1) Although I rely chiefly on the senior servers to assist with the new ones and make sure they understand the duties and don't get confused or uncomfortable with serving, we don't always have senior servers available for every Mass.  In most cases, there is no reason why most of you who have served for several months at least cannot help with the new ones.  Look out for each other and try to make it an enjoyable experience for all!

2) Those who are comfortable on the bells at the consecration, start working on making it a little better.  Ideally, there should be a single, relatively short pulse of bells for the Epiclesus (when the priest holds both hands palm down over the gifts) - you don't need to ring them through that whole section, because people want to hear what the priest is saying!  During the raising of the Host and raising of the Chalice, however, it is good to ring three pulses.  This means about a second each, and the bells shouldn't stop entirely between pulses, just a pause, where the sound fades a little.  If anyone has questions about this, ask me or one of the older servers.  We can show you. 

3) Please be mindful of the fact that on special occasions there may be a solemn blessing at the end of Mass.  This means you may need to be prepared to hold the book a second time at the end of Mass after announcements. 

And if you haven't - please review Procedures_Update_Jan.  I will try to make a new procedures update soon, but it will probably not cover all the recent changes.