Altar Boys and Girls make tons of the mistakes. The secret is to not let anyone know that this happens by making your mistakes small and not so huge that the entire church ends of staring at you.
Most of the time, “mistakes” are really accidents. Like the time the processional cross slipped out of my hands in the sacristy and banged onto the sink not only eliciting a loud crash but also sliding the corpus of Jesus from an upright to sideways position! (Fortunately, we were able to slide it back to the upright position).
Or the time when Timmy Robinson’s shoe got caught in the church carpeting and he flew off of the altar down the center aisle. (Think curling rock in a surplice and cassock).
For those of us who were little when we started…I had to carry the cross which was way too heavy for me, but I did it. Only then, I wasn’t able to place it into it’s holder which was a pin raised off the ground nearly at my waist, that the hollow end of the cross would slide into. I would try and stumble backwards, losing my balance and nearly crashing into the nearby altar. Finally, Michael Margiotta came to my aid and helped me save at least some dignity.
One of the most bizarre stories…
Alphonse DiLello was one of the older Altar Boys (probably late high school) was quite confused when people started screaming at him during a Holy Thursday mass when he was lighting high candles on a side altar. People were screaming, “It’s on fire!” There were curtains next to the tabernacle and he thought that was what was burning and looking upwards he couldn’t see anything that was on fire at all.
And that is because what was on fire was him. His surplice actually caught fire while lighting candles by the tabernacle. He wacked it out with one firm blow of his left hand, luckily. He escaped with just a burned left pinky. As a sign of a good liturgist, Al, as he was known simply went into the sacristy, ran cold water on his hand, took off the burned surplice and returned with a fresh one as if nothing had even happened. This all happened during the communion procession and our pastor restored order rather quickly with a “OK, he’s fine. It’s all over now. Quiet down please.”
Lastly, two of my all time favorites was when during a funeral, Fr Dominc Russo was presiding and the pascal candle was behind him. One of the servers hit it and it tumbled right down bonking Fr. Russo in the noggin. He didn’t get burned fortunately, but hot wax was everywhere, in his hair, over his glasses, on his vestments. A mess, to be sure, but hysterical mess.
I mentioned in an earlier post about the garb that the younger altar boys had to wear. A white hooded alb with a pectoral cross hanging around the neck and a white cincture. We went out for an evening procession on the streets of Yonkers and I saw at least 5 African-American people start to run. They thought we were the Klan and we were actually all very upset about this. We were trying to be signs of Jesus in the world and we ended up being mistaken for a sign of hatred. Sad.
What crazy stories do you have about serving mass? Post them here or send the more lengthy ones to me at firstname.lastname@example.org