AUGUSTA — Children and teens from around the Diocese of Portland will gather with their families, Bishop Robert P. Deeley, and area priests for the Altar Server Festival from 2 to 6:30 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 19, inside and outside of St. Mary of the Assumption Church, 41 Western Ave., in Augusta. The day of fun, activities, and family time shows appreciation for the contributions of altar servers and helps build community among servers across Maine.

“We bring them together because we want to thank them for all that they do to help us to be able to make Jesus present to everyone,” said Deeley, in a news release from the Roman Catholic Diocese of Portland.

“This is an opportunity for altar servers to meet other young people who share their passion for God,” said the Rev. Seamus Griesbach, director of the diocese’s Office of Vocations which is planning the festival, according to the release. “That can really be a positive and energizing experience for them. It is also an opportunity to draw attention to the importance of the ministry that they are doing. Serving at the altar is important, and everyone in the Church is grateful for their generous service.”

The festival will begin with a Mass, celebrated by Deeley, followed by altar server games, competitions during which servers from parishes compete in various contests that test their server prowess including “Server Jeopardy,” “Sanctuary Hopscotch,” “Vesting,” “Candle Lighting Relay” and the “Reverent Ring.”

“It’s an opportunity to find joy in the little aspects of the ministry that they do each week, but in a more informal context where they can laugh and relax together with their friends, families, and local clergy,” said Griesbach, according to the release.

The festival will conclude at 5:30 p.m. with a family barbecue.

All servers are invited, with permission from their altar server coordinators, to bring a server robe or cassock and surplice from their parish to wear for Mass. Servers who plan to wear a robe or cassock and surplice at Mass must arrive by 1:30 p.m. Servers should bring a change of clothes for the games after Mass.

The cost is $10 per family to help cover the cost of the barbecue. To register, visit portlanddiocese.org.

For more information, call the Office of Vocations at 773-6471.

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