My Homily to the Altar Servers of the Diocese

My dear Altar servers boys and girls,

Serving brings you very close to Jesus. Jesus our life. Jesus son of God and Mary. With Serving there is a lot to learn. You are learning what to do.When I was your age, I had three sisters. We all had to get up for school, I had to get to the bathroom first. If my sisters got there, first they took ages! Getting up earlier, I had to go to bed a bit earlier. I had to make a decision.Misa de Angelis – it is difficult. Set to learn it. Impossible? It can be done.At school, I remember Mr Bonney, he taught P.E. School was all over the place. We changed classrooms for different lessons. Sometimes we changed buildings. School was on a hill. So, we got plenty of exercise: walking, running. Upper body strength. I needed to work at this. I needed to choose.At school – I realised a big part of my life I had just not looked after much. My Spiritual life, prayer life. It was part of me. The deepest part. Jesus – sad because many stopped going with Him. He didn’t change – didn’t make it easy to fit them.Christian Faith – it is a way of life. Knowing what is important. We are given it by our parents and grandparents. It is something passed down because it is important to Jesus and so, to us. You don’t have to be a server, it is something extra, something that brings us close to Jesus if we try to do it well.This makes you different from many of your friends. That is ok. If they ask you why, it can be hard to answer, but easy too – it is important to Jesus and brings us clos to Him.Thank you to your parents for the extra effort it takes. Your young need you to encourage them. Thank you to the senior servers. For your patience, especially with the younger ones! Thank you to the clergy, for helping you, for making sure you are safe and there is no bullying.Boys and young men think about the Priesthood. We need priests. I hope some of you will think about becoming priests. Priests help people know Jesus better. You need to think about it. Jesus, are you calling me to be a priest? To make a choice?Help to make sure Jesus is still alive in our society and world. Stop greedy, selfish, falling out – no stress, not loved, no need to feel useless or a failure. St Stephen – something happened in his life – no-one could stop him being a friend of Jesus, a server.

Sincerest good wishes and prayers,


Paul Swarbrick

Bishop of Lancaster