Papa Francesco and the Altar Girls

Yesterday was World Women’s Day.  Below is a part of the Angelus greeting that Papa Francesco gave and two pictures from the Mass he celebrated at the Roman parish of Santa Maria Madre del Redentore yesterday evening.

Quote from Angelus greeting:

“Today March 8, I greet all women!  All the women who every day seek to build a society more human and welcoming.  And a brotherly thanks also to those who in a thousand ways witness to the Gospel and work in the Church.  And this is for us an occasion for confirming the importance and the necessity of their presence in life.  A world where women are marginalized is a sterile world, because women not only carry life, but transmit to us the capacity of seeing beyond–they see beyond them–, transmittting to us the ability of understanding the world with different eyes, of feeling things with hearts more creative, more patient, more tender.  A prayer and a blessing to all the women present here in the piazza and for all women.  A greeting!”

From the Mass at Santa Maria del Redentore:

PF and Altar Girls

PF and Altar Girls 3

I watched the video of this Mass  There were six young women altar servers taking an active role  in this Mass ranging from about 7 up to late teens.  They processed in with all the clergy and male  altar servers.  Two of the older ones were the ones who held PF’s crozier and miter when it was not in use by him.  The first screen shot picture is of them helping with the washing of his hands.  The second is from the consecration.  At all of these papal Masses there is this kind of “honor guard” of altar servers in front of the altar with candles and one with the incensor during the consecration. The two you see on the bottom left of the second picture are both girls. There were two also at the other end of this lineup.  Throughout, these young ladies did not put a foot wrong or show any nervousness being around the pope and all the other clergy.  Papa Francesco showed no hesitation or concern in working with them.  This isn’t the first Mass in which I have seen where there were women altar servers.  The Mass he said at a stadium in Jordan last spring had women altar servers present .  I also saw them at the Mass he said this last Saturday evening at another Roman parish, marking the 50th anniversary of the first Mass said in the vernacular.  My thoughts on all of this:  I think PF speaks volumes in how he sees women taking an active part in the Church and in the liturgy by his acceptance of the presence of these young women in his celebration of liturgy and he obviously does not think having female altar servers near him are going to give him cooties as do some who have had stories in the press lately.  Wonder if those guys even saw this video.


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