My husband was determined to capture a photo of the lighting of the paschal fire at the Easter Vigil this year. He sort of got the fire. But he did get a great shot of the young men who eagerly volunteered to serve at this awesome liturgy. A significant percentage of this group feel strongly called to a priestly vocation. My gratitude for the holy priests who have so gently and joyfully directed and educated these boys in faith, liturgy and sanctity is tremendous. I am also grateful for the strength of this particular (and male) community of altar boys who have found support and inspiration in each other that cannot be found in school or neighborhood communities. A number of them openly speak about their hopes for a religious vocation.
I know that girls can easily do the tasks these boys do in service at the altar. Ability is not in question. But it is important to honor through action the unique role that each of the sexes plays in the Church. The fact of a male priesthood does not dishonor women any more than my own motherhood dishonors my husbands role in the family. Ideally, a well-lived vocation will compliment and strengthen different vocations within the Body of Christ.