Faith and Fun Day – September 2017

Austin Ball, 9, and his father, Derek, of St. John the Baptist in Lyndora, Pa. root for the Pittsburgh Pirates during their game versus the Los Angeles Dodgers at PNC Park on Aug. 24. The event was part of the 10th annual “Faith and Fun Day” for altar servers. Photo by David Mayernik Jr

 Altar Servers Come Together for Annual Event

Being an altar server runs in the Rubish family. Tommy Rubish, 9, began his service at Holy Ghost in McKees Rocks, Pa. last December, following in the footsteps of his brother, Paul, 11, who has served for the past two years.

“I wanted to do it and my brother was doing it.” Tommy was one more than two dozen altar servers who participated in “Faith and Fun Day” for the Archeparchy’s altar servers on Aug. 24. The day included morning liturgy at Holy Ghost, a visit to the Carnegie Science Center on Pittsburgh’s North Side, and cheering on the Pittsburgh Pirates at PNC Park during their game versus the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Tommy said his favorite part of being an altar server is “doing the boat.” The “boat” is the vessel which holds incense before it is put into a censer.

“Yeah, I like the smell,” he said. Tommy, who began fourth grade last month, enjoys math and playing baseball, basketball and hockey. Father Kevin Marks, of St. Michael in Campbell, Ohio, said “Faith and Fun Day” began as a way to honor altar servers.

“Just to give them a day to say ‘thank you’ and appreciate them for their ministry in serving and a day they all can come together from various parishes to get to know each other. “We have faith in the Divine Liturgy and then the fun part is a tour around Pittsburgh, going to exhibits and we always end with a Pirates baseball game.”

Altar servers enjoy the Carnegie Science Center, Pittsburgh pirates game.

In previous years, altar servers have enjoyed a private tour of Heinz Field, the home of the Pittsburgh Steelers; Just Ducky Tours; and visits to the former Consol Energy Center and WQED television studios in Oakland, Pa. Father Kevin hopes the day serves to “renew and refresh” the altar servers.

“They’re appreciated and when they serve at the altar, it’s not unnoticed. “The pastors of our churches are thankful of their willingness and dedication to serve and hopefully, for them, serving means more than just being forced into it. But rather, that they want to do it and they’re learning, they participate, and hopefully maybe there will be a priest or a deacon out of the boys.”

Father Kevin hoped the young men enjoyed the day’s activities and think to themselves: “Yes, I love being an altar boy.” Tyson Kennis, 12, has served for the past three years at Holy Trinity in Sykesville, Pa. This was the third “Faith and Fun Day’ he has attended. “When I was in second grade, I learned that you could be an altar server at eight years old. I wanted to join because everybody else was doing it, all my friends from the church.”

Tyson, who is going into sixth grade, is the oldest of three sisters and a brother. “It’s a pretty big family. My brother is the youngest and I’m the oldest so the boys are split out and the girls are in the middle.” Tyson enjoys going to Pirates games and his favorite player is center fielder Andrew McCutchen.

“I’ve just always liked him.” He has no doubt as to why he continues to serve on the altar at Holy Trinity. “I thought it was a really good idea to do it because I’m serving the Lord.”