11 July 2009
Each year Westminster Cathedral hosts a Mass for the servers
of the Diocese. That said , Servers from as far away as Liverpool and
His Grace Vincent Nichols; recently installed as Archbishop, the principal celebrant welcomed the assembled congregation of Servers, their MC’s their supporters, friends and family.
Earlier in the day servers of this Parish of the Sacred Heart Teddington, their MC, their siblings, parents and supporters met at a Pizza Hut convenient to and close by the Cathedral. Just before noon, hungry members of Sacred Heart’s Guild of St Stephen started to arrive. Over the next hour and half a quite substantial pile of pizza was consumed as well as soft drinks of all types!
Disappointing all, the Ice Cream Factory was out of order. Though the Pizza servers did their best to make repairs; sadly their best efforts were in vain. Members of the Guild made off without ice cream , though most were resolved to ambush parents for a portion on the way home!
Our group crossed the always busy
As we split, heads were counted and we confirmed that in our group we had 19 servers, plus our MC Jonathan and two grey heads , Stephen and Nicholas. Arriving at Cathedral Hall, Stephen signed us in to the Roll and we joined the milling throng of servers within the Hall. Many had travelled long distances to be present. Excitement was fizzing.
We found a space in the hall and unpacked our Albs and started to sort Servers and Albs by size, matching one to the other. Much was happening in quick succession , as well as briefings and announcements over the PA system ; two of our servers were selected by the MC of the Cathedral’s Servers to serve in the Mass. Daisy B. and Sarah K. They left our party diminished in number but very proud, Daisy and Sarah did look just a little worried and more than a little excited. Then - horror !! we found we were three albs short. The remaining albs being large enough to accommodate servers much larger than those standing before us. A hurried rummage by the Cathedral found one that fit one of the larger alb-less. Sadly that left us still two short. By this time we were being called to process in to the cathedral and desperate we decided to try and smuggle our two alb-less servers Anna and Katherine into Mass by placing them in the middle of our line. We were thwarted in our plot by a sharp eyed cathedral official and we were told in no uncertain terms that they could not remain in the procession unless appropriately robed. So one of the grey heads accompanied Anna and Kathryn into the Cathedral to take part in the mass ; by rejoining the adults and supporters of our Guild watching as the long procession of servers from all parts of the Diocese and beyond filed in to the vast space. Servers filled more than two thirds of the great Church.
Sacred Heart’s Guild members were particularly fortunate to have a position close to the Sanctuary Rail. So all were able to closely observe proceedings within the sanctuary and watch how a cathedral server performed. As Archbishop Vincent Nichols Sanctuary procession passed we saw and were reminded that two of our number would in fact be serving at this Mass!
Later when asked what it had been like , one of the young servers admitted she had been concerned even a little frightened, at first but determined not to do any thing wrong. When asked for her first impressions of the Sanctuary of our Cathedral she replied , “ Big, like…. Massive!!” Undaunted our colleagues served with focus attention; and I am sure despite the huge occasion , reverence.
Another , whose First Communion had been in June , remarked in awe that he thought he had received the Host from the hands of Archbishop Vincent!
Mass concluded , servers and congregation flowed out of the church we found Archbishop Vincent Nichol was waiting for us in the sunshine and as servers processed past on their way back to the Cathedral Hall many greetings were given and returned.
Before our party went our separate ways the traditional group photographs were taken and then home, to look forward to next year when we all hope the ice cream factory is fixed and we have more Albs!!