Father Siphiwo Vangqa SAC, priest in charge for Stutterheim and Vicar General of the Diocese of Queenstown, decided to introduce new garments for the altar servers in all the churches of his pastoral territory. He approached Father Tratsaert SAC, the priest in charge of the St. Theresa’s Mission in Queenstown, who had done the same in his church 3 years ago, and quite soon the plan was made up: 20 french style altar server outfits would be made in Queenstown by Mrs. Christina Alexander while the accessories would come from the Belgian firm Slabbinck, which has an agency in Kensington near Johannesburg.
On Sunday, the 15th of July 2012, it was that far. Delegations of all the existing Catholic congregations of Stutterheim gathered in the St. Joseph’s Church in town for the introduction and investiture of the new Altar Boys and Girls.
Father Edward Tratsaert SAC, who came from Queenstown together with his own 20 altar servers was the main celebrant for the occasion.
In his sermon, he pointed out the importance of the Sunday Mass. People come to Mass, not because they are obliged to do so, but because they respond joyfully upon the invitation of Jesus Christ Himself to follow Him, who saved them from death and leads them to life everlasting.
Therefore, the task of an altar server is more than just “important”: it is a vivid answer from the altar servers themselves upon the invitation of Jesus Christ to come unto him because He loves them tremendously, and, in the mean time it symbolizes also the positive reaction of the parents, who, in act of thanksgiving, proudly present their children they once received from God, as ”pages and “ladies in waiting” to His Son, Christ the King, who is present in the Blessed Sacrament.
The Message to the altar servers: “Know what you are, and be proud of it!” and the message to the parents: “Stimulate in your children the call they received from God and back them with your presence in the church where they officiate”.
The service continued with the blessing of the garments, followed up by the investiture of the Stutterheim altar servers by their colleagues from Queenstown.
A jubilant congregation greeted them with an overwhelming enthusiasm and joy, a spirit which dominated the rest of the service.
After the traditional and compulsory photo session, a delicious meal, prepared by the parishioners, waited for the newly installed altar servers and for their guests from Queenstown as well. The atmosphere amongst those youngsters was perfect: a common joy caused an easy communication which resulted in exchanges of addresses and cellphone numbers, but the taxi bus for Queenstown had to do it’s duty and brought the Queenstown delegation, in spite of the cold weather with rain and snow, safely home.
For them and for the people of Stutterheim, it was the most beautiful way to end the holidays, because the next day, everybody had to go back to school.
We congratulate the faithful, the clergy and the altar servers of Stutterheim for what happened on the 15th of July in their parish and hope and pray that this positive spirit may continue to stay, increasing and blossoming for still a long time to come.
Fr. Edward Tratsaert SAC