Fr. Z. recently posted an article today about how parents in one parish in Wisconsin are outraged that girls will no longer be allowed to serve at the altar. You can read it here: http://wdtprs.com/blog/2008/06/kerfuffle-wisconsin-parish-nixes-altar-girls-predictable-outrage-ensues-before-sanity-prevails/#comments.
As I see it, this is a positive move on the part of the parish priest. The role of altar girls is not really well understood by most people. As it states in the article, there are clear reasons given about when they are needed and that is when there is a shortage of boys. Apparently, the priest in Wisconsin has decided to turn this around and I assume that boys are flocking to become altar servers once again.
As one who used to be an altar boy in the Orthodox Church before my conversion, I can tell you that it is a tremendous and awe-inspiring privilege to help the priest serve the Divine Liturgy or the Mass. It should not be taken lightly and treated as something to do on Sunday mornings. No, it is something that can bring about a vocation to the priesthood in a large number of former altar boys.
My own personal vocation to the Franciscans started when I was in the Orthodox Church and felt a call to the priesthood. It only came about, I suppose, because I saw what the priest did during the Liturgy and what those acts signified. It was only much, much later after my conversion that I realized that my call was to be a friar. Whether I will be a priest or not is not for me to say that is for God and my superiors to decide in their own good time.
Anyway, I think that this is excellent news that is coming in from Wisconsin. Let’s hope for more.