Saturday, November 20, 2010

The Acolyte Widow

My wife and I both grew up Roman Catholic. When we were children, girls were not allowed to be altar servers. This disappointed BP, who always wanted to serve.

Well, the RC church has modernized a little, but BP has modernized beyond that. She's now Episcopalian. And, being a parishioner of St Paul's Cathedral, San Diego, she has the opportunity to be an acolyte.

But not just an acolyte. BP has a fascination with Holy Smoke: she wants to be a thurifer.

Last weekend, she had her first experience as an acolyte (may I say that she looks very sweet in an alb). Today, she had her formal "classwork". Now, she will start training in earnest, including what they call Brass and Silver teams, Boat, and ultimately Thurifer. We're a Cathedral so serving is a big deal; the processional has three vergers as well, to keep them all in line!

In the pew last Sunday, a nice couple with whom we are friendly noted BP was not with me. They were concerned till i pointed her out on the altar. "Ah," said one, with a smile, "you're an acolyte widow!" I am indeed.

BP found her first experience "up front" to be surprisingly moving. It wasn't all worrying about what to do next; she was enthralled with being that close to what was going on, the Mystery if you will. This is going to be a great ministry for her. I'm very proud.

Besides, as I said, she looks adorable in an alb. .

She really has come home. :-)

9 comments:

Fred Schwartz said...

FWIW: The Roman Church allows female altar servers at this time.

Congratulations to BP -- the greatest thing with a thurifer is the 360! Wait, it will happen and when it does everyone will gasp!

Ann said...

Wow - congratulations to BP -- the first time I served the chalice - my hands shook with the immensity of it. I was not nervous - just awestruck

Göran Koch-Swahne said...

So happy for you both!

Counterlight said...

I love being thurifer. Congratulations to BP. She'll have a lot of fun. I always say to the celebrant that if I can still see her from 3 feet away, then it's not enough smoke.

I presume someone has already told her the old story about Tallulah Bankhead and the thurifer.

it's margaret said...

I remember fighting back the tears the first time I got to serve as an acolyte --it was always just boys or only children...

Congratulations to BP --and many blessings upon your tremendous support of your beloved wife.

JCF said...

she was enthralled with being that close to what was going on, the Mystery if you will.

I do will! ;-D

FWIW: The Roman Church allows female altar servers at this time.

That "at this time" is really key, Fred. Popoids are really pressing to get rid of them (You should have heard the EWTN talking heads snarking about "acolettes"---their term---during the Popes trip to the UK.)

I missed Mass today, because I got a sore throat last night (yes, cue the violins!). Your imagery was the next best thing to being there, IT. :-)

MadPriest said...

I am so glad it is BP who is after the thurifer's job and not you, IT. The thought of you swinging such a heavy, combustible implement around your head is quite terrifying.

Oh, and tell BP to remember that there is no such thing as too much incense.

Punkie said...

AND you two made a cute couple coming up to the altar together to drop your pledge off in the basket. It's great to have BP in the acolyte corps!

Now, can we interest you in Altar Guild?

JCF said...

The thought of you swinging such a heavy, combustible implement around your head is quite terrifying

Heh: one too-close swing, and there goes the Cure for Cancer! :-p