For Sunday, October 16, 2011
Nearly 12 years ago, my son was baptized the day after Christmas. A most dynamic priest, Father Bob Vaillancourt, conducted the Mass and made the service an incredibly beautiful ceremony. To this day, members of the congregation speak of the way in which Father Bob carried 4 week old Paul to the altar and around the church. For his part, Paul cooperated by remaining a precious angel.
As Paul grew, we continued to take him to weekly Mass where he learned to sit respectfully with the congregation. As he got a little older he would join others in a short childrens’ liturgy each week, happily running to join the parade of preschoolers who would march downstairs for a brief discussion catered to the little ones. Paul went to weekly religious education classes, made his sacraments of Holy Communion and Confirmation in the second grade, and the sacrament of Reconciliation too. In the third grade he was old enough to become an altar server. Following his two older sisters who also served, Paul assisted the priest at Sunday Mass when he was scheduled to do so, and sat with the rest of us in the choir on his off weeks.
Watching Paul serve on the altar for the past few years has been touching; not a single Sunday has passed without my imagining him as that infant on the altar at his baptism. But my baby is growing up. As I watched him carry the cross to the back of the church at the end of today’s Mass, I offered up a prayer to God, asking Him to continue watching over my baby boy, my precious angel. He may not be found on the altar anymore, but I hope he'll continue to be a faithful servant.