Picturesque Goa

Picturesque Goa
NOSTALGIA - Articles,Poems & Photos


TONFERNS CREATIONS - Tony's Art & Hobbies

Wednesday, June 04, 2014

Felicio the Altar Boy

Felicio the Altar Boy

I had managed to pour just the right amount of wine into the chalice, rang the bell at the precise time for the ‘Sanctus’ and successfully carried the missal along with the stand from one side of the altar to the other. I had also steadily poured water over the priest’s fingers as he washed them, and there had been no sound of any cruets clashing together. My co-server and I had also bowed and genuflected in tandem, as we alternatively stood and knelt on the polished white marble floor of our village Chapel of Our Lady of Assumption in Vancio Vaddo, Guirim, Bardez, Goa.

My biggest fear and concern was not to trip while climbing or getting down the steps to the altar. I was grateful that the senior server had trained me well, and that Padre Capelão (the Rev. Chaplain) had been very kind and understanding in teaching me the right pronunciation of the Latin words.

My great moment was yet to come and that would be when people would line up to receive Holy Communion. I accompanied the priest as he proceeded to the front pews as the village folks knelt to receive. Just then I noticed that my mother was standing in line in the centre aisle. Soon, I thought, she would be kneeling for her turn.

This was my moment of great and significant pride and joy as I held the shining gold-plated communion serving paten under my mother’s chin. I felt that this was my highest privilege and honour. I thought that perhaps my mother’s wish was granted that I had learned to serve the Holy Mass and officially become an ‘ajudante’ (Latin) or server. With a quick glance I was then surprised to see my relatives and neighbours in the queue as well. I could see that there were hints of sustained smiles on their faces. Perhaps, I thought, my mother must have requested them to attend the Mass in order to give me big surprise so that they could receive Holy Communion served by the ‘the new altar boy Tony (aka Felicio) always in a blue shirt’ from the village of Cumbiem Morod.

After the Mass, we had all walked home together. It had been the beginning of a great day indeed for me and for all the members of my family. My mother had prepared a special breakfast as well to commemorate the special day in my life.

The Latin Mass that I had first served in, continued for another few more years until 1969. It was then replaced by a New Order of the Mass when the priest faced the people. In a way, the new procedure must have been good. This way the priest could constantly keep an eye on his flock during the entire service, as opposed to the days of the Latin Mass when Padre Capelão along with his flock, the sacristan, the altar boys and the singers in the choir, had all stood facing in one direction – that is, towards the altar – lifting up their hearts! And saying: Sursum corda! (Latin) ~ Lift up your hearts!

Tony Felix (aka Felicio) Fernandes
Guirim, Cumbiem Morod,
Bardez, Goa, India.

  1. The Mass of Paul VI is a form of Mass in the Catholic Church, promulgated by Pope Paul VI in 1969 after the Second Vatican Council (1962–1965). It is now the ordinary or normal form of the Roman Rite Mass.

No comments: