A young woman delivers Scripture reading at the Sept. 26 Festival of Families in Philadelphia. CNS/Paul Haring

Speaking Out: Finding my place in Church

By  Kate Jamieson, Speaking Out
  • November 17, 2017
When I was in Grade 4, I used to sit in the front pew at my church and watch my older sister altar serve. I had always looked up to my sister and as I sat there, I realized I wanted to be just like her.

Shortly after, I became an altar server, too, and I continue to be one — eight years later.

When I started, it was a great way to develop my faith. I found myself paying closer attention to the little things in Mass as I tried to remember exactly when to ring the bells or hold a book during Mass.

On a social level, it connected me with other Catholic youth. I met several people my age who practised their faith which, even as a student attending Catholic school, felt rare. These people were dedicated to Christ and helped remind me that I was not the only young person who believed.

As I got older, my younger sister started altar serving with me. I grew an even stronger connection to my faith by being able to share and show it in a new way.

Slowly, however, younger people were starting to be trained, and the friends I had served with for years began to find themselves sitting back with their families. I started to have the sense that I was too old, a feeling I did not have very often as a 16-year-old. I felt as though I should stop.

For months I looked for a good time to end it, but struggled to find a replacement.

Even my favourite coming-of-age movies failed to give me inspiration.

I know God loves me and I want to serve Him, but it was hard to know how to fulfill that call to serve. For years, I knew my place in the Church, but all of a sudden I was making a decision that would leave me with uncertainty.

My priest encouraged me to find another ministry in the parish, but it was difficult to know what. As of now, I have committed to becoming a lector in the new year after I fully end my time as an altar server after Christmas.

This decision will help me be close to my family, back in the pews with them where we can share our faith together during Mass. I hope it also will prepare me for a closer relationship with Christ as I get to know Him more through the Word.

Recently, I have attended a training session for my new role. This training was not with a group of young faces as my altar server training was, but with a group of primarily older Catholics who have been lectors for years.

Still, I found a sense of belonging in this new group. Even though they were not the same age, they showed a love of God through their ministry and I could feel a sense of aspiration form within me.

I am growing up, and part of that is finding how my faith and I fit together. For now, I am hopeful that this opportunity will allow me to connect with God and deepen my belief.

(Jamieson, 17, is a Grade 12 student at Monsignor Doyle Catholic Secondary School in Cambridge, Ont.)

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