Diocesan Pontifical Altar Server Corps Serves Bishop Muhich During Holy Week
The Diocese of Rapid City Pontifical Altar Server Corps completed a busy Holy Week 2022 by serving Bishop Peter Muhich at the Easter Vigil at the Cathedral of Our Lady of Perpetual Help. Formally organized in the spring of 2021, the PASC is composed of experienced altar servers from the Cathedral Parish that receive specialized training in serving at pontifical Masses and liturgies when the Bishop of Rapid City is presiding, most often at the Cathedral and Terra Sancta. PASC members also serve as the training cadre for other OLPH altar servers, both adult and youth, who serve at Sunday and daily masses at the cathedral.
The PASC members for 2022 include; John Paul Witte, Max Daniel, Philip Daniel, Sean Pelayic, Liam Pelayic, Matt O’Connor, Brandon Linster and is led by Bishop Muhich’s Pontifical Master of Ceremonies Ken Orrock. Additional servers from the regular altar servers at OLPH also supplement the PASC as needed.
The service to the bishop during Masses doesn’t end when members called to the priesthood enter seminary studies. Seminarians who come home during breaks in their studies also supplement the PASC and the master of ceremonies strives to assign them to duties in direct contact or support of the bishop to allow them to interact with him. Seminarians who have been instituted into the ministries of lector or acolyte, or who have been ordained to the transitional diaconate are also called to fulfill their ministry during pontifical masses.
Beginning during the 2022 Holy Week liturgies, the PASC began wearing the traditional black cassock, without white collar, and white surplice instead of the white alb most often worn by traditional altar servers. This gives added solemnity and decorum to the servers when attending to the bishop. Wearing the cassock and surplice is a mark of distinction for the PASC members and is a symbol of the work put in during the entire year.
Cathedral Rector Fr. Brian Christensen says, “The Cathedral is truly blessed to have young men dedicated to the beautiful celebration of the sacred mysteries. Our Pontifical Altar Servers have grown in their appreciation of the wonder and beauty of the Holy Mass. They serve with great reverence and attentiveness. Their dependable service helps our bishop, priests and our parishioners to enter more fully into worship, praise, thanksgiving; fuller participation in the divine mysteries. I am so grateful!”
Open to anyone who shows dedication to the ministry of altar server, the program also has an overarching vocation consciousness and several of the corps members are discerning a call to the priesthood or religious life. Anyone interested in joining the PASC, or in training to serve the bishop when he presides at their parish, can contact the master of ceremonies at OLPH.
Ken Orrock is the Diocesan Pontifical Master of Ceremonies and Director of the Cathedral of Our Lady of Perpetual Help’s Altar Server Program.