About 2,600 altar boys from 166 parishes and parish communities, over 300 accompanying people and a good 250 helpers on site – this is an impressive result of the diocesan altar day in Friedberg, where, after a long pandemic pandemic, the Diocesan minis finally reunited to celebrate together.
During the two years of the pandemic, many parishes have shrunk and even fell asleep – but the altar groups were not one of them – Bertram emphasized at the beginning of an event organized by the Bishop’s Youth Welfare Office: “You too experienced Corona and now we are starting anew – with thank you in advance for that! ”Diocesan altar counselor Harald Weber was also overwhelmed by the unexpectedly large number of participants: the first day of the altar server after the pandemic broke all records. was particularly impressive: “Everyone is happy, the show is going great and there is life on every corner!”
No wonder: in more than sixty workshops and play stations, children and young people had the opportunity to experience a variety of experiences and have fun at Friedberg’s school and on the sports field. From African drums to candle making, and from soccer to ask a pastor, the workshops covered a wide range of games, sports, and spirituality. Driven by arguably the world’s largest portable censer, weighing about 170 kilograms and three meters high, the participants in the Altar’s Day set out in liturgical garments and marched in solemn procession to Marienplatz in Friedberg’s old town. The procession was led by the carrying cross, which was designed in the morning.
During a solemn service at Marienplatz, Bishop Bertram spoke of how he wanted to be an altar boy as a little boy and how he “tirelessly, almost tirelessly” tormented his home parish priest about it. “As an acolyte I can be very close to Jesus” was his motivation at the time. Later, he also decided to pursue a spiritual career, though he soon had to learn: “People in the Church – including pastors and bishops – make mistakes. They are not saints either! ” However, one thing is certain: being able to stand before God changes people. Acolytes can present themselves to him as they are – with all their strengths, weaknesses, talents, and limitations. “You, dear children and young people, are the future of the Church! Speak up, criticize when you think something is wrong, and most of all: take care of it! Jesus does not need sleepers, but young people who press the gas, set the pace, take off – after the Crown period.
During the service, two young acolytes with a rainbow flag of peace entered the altar stage. Bishop Bertram took it up in his sermon and emphasized that the rainbow has always been a symbol of the covenant between God and man, and of color and diversity in the Church. He takes her testimony very seriously, but asks for understanding and patience: as a bishop, he is not the only decision-maker but part of a diverse global church community.
After the end of the Christmas service, thousands of participants finally made their way back down Friedberg streets towards the train station or the parking lot, with the weather taking into account quite a few people taking a detour through the city’s ice-cream lounges. At the end of the long day, however, there was above all gratitude for the intense experience of the community. For 18-year-old Marie from Sainbach, the first altar boy the day after Corona was “absolutely bearish” and a “great feeling”: “This huge fellowship with one another was a great experience and I am very grateful for that!”
The word “acolyte” comes from the Latin verb “ministrare” (to serve) and today it refers primarily to children and young people who support the parish priest in the liturgical process from the first Holy Communion. sanctuary. Currently, there are approximately 20,000 altar boys in the parishes of the diocese of Augsburg.