The 3rd Annual Diocesan Altar Servers Retreat was held at Saint Basil’s Academy in Garrison NY from Friday, March 1st to Sunday, March 3rd. Over 60 participants were present for all or part of the weekend. Altar servers and clergy came from each of the three deaneries (New York City, New Jersey, New York State) as well as some from the Moscow Patriarchate, Carpatho-Russian Diocese and one young man from the local Academy community.
His Grace, Bishop Michael, eight priests and two deacons led the retreat. While there was excellent participation from adult altar servers, the weekend was also blessed with 39 young men and boys who came to learn about the Divine Services while enhancing their skills as servers at the Lord's altar. They also were prepared to serve when the bishop comes to their home parish. The Divine Liturgy was celebrated on both mornings, with evening prayers and Vespers served each evening. All of the altar servers had the opportunity to actively participate.
The weekend was not all business. As they arrived at Saint Basils Academy, participants were treated to a pizza dinner and free-time in the swimming pool and on the basketball court. Several competitive games broke out among the older boys, while the younger boys also found a place to meet new friends.
One highlight of the weekend occurred as the bishop challenged the young men to a competition of Church knowledge. The boys won every time, being able to answer such things as the names of the 12 apostles and the 9 ranks of angels.
The weekend ended with His Grace sharing his prayer that as the altar servers grow in love for Christ, that they would grow in service to the Church: becoming readers, sub-deacons, deacons and priests.