05/18/2023, 18.28
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Tamil Nadu: archbishop tells altar servers to be united, transcend caste

by Nirmala Carvalho

More than 500 altar servers attend a meeting organised by the Archdiocese of Pondicherry-Cuddalore at the Shrine of Our Lady Periyanayagi. Many of them are girls even though there is still resistance in some parishes. For Archbishop Kalist, serving at the altar “is a great ministry, which must be carried out with devotion and prayer”.

Pondicherry (AsiaNews) – More than 500 altar servers from 26 parishes in the Archdiocese of Pondicherry-Cuddalore gathered for the first time all after many years at the Shrine of Our Lady Periyanayagi, in Konankuppam, for the priestly ordination of Deacon Johnson.

Increasingly, girls are also participating in liturgical services in Indian parishes, a trend welcomed by Archbishop Francis Kalist, who spoke at the meet, as did representatives from several religious congregations, who related their experience, giving the event a vocational orientation.

“Many vocations to the priesthood come from altar servers,”  said Fr Raj, the shrine’s parish priest. “Yet highlighting the service is also important more generally to raise good Catholics.”

However, "In some parishes, people are not yet ready to accept altar girls, but this mindset should change. This is also synodality.”

For the children who serve at the altar, it "is not only about practical things in the liturgy, but about the presence of Jesus,” Archbishop Kalist explained. “It is a great ministry, which must be carried out with devotion and prayer, helping those who participate in the celebration.”

"In my talk, I addressed the problem of caste that also afflicts the Church,” the prelate went on to say. “This can only be eliminated if from an early age these children learn about the synodality of communion involving each other, overcoming any division based on caste, language, culture or anything else.”

Thus, “I have entrusted these boys and girls with this task, mindful that the Holy Spirit always unites.”

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