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Austria: more and more girls as altar servers

Altar service is still attractive for children and teenagers: it is confirmed by the figures presented by Simon Mödl, in charge of the service for the “Young Church” from the archdiocese of Vienna. With respect to the decrease in other sectors, said Mödl to the agency of the Austrian Catholic Church Kathpress, “here, figures are incredibly stable, and the flow of boys and girls is constant”. Following a research, from 2014, almost 55% of the over 45 thousand Austrian altar servers – including 10 thousand in the archdiocese of Vienna only – have been female. However, service at the common altar for girls and boys is a recent phenomenon: girls were officially admitted 25 years ago. Parents’ support is an important factor; they stand by this service the whole week. For many girls, altar service is a sign of liberty and equality. From the data examined as of 2014, Mödl stated that the female percentage has been higher in relation to the persons in charge of altar service: in the past, the only management was by chaplains or clerics, but now women and girls gained the leadership: in the whole Austria, about 2,800 women are in charge of the liturgy of altar servers, with respect to 2,200 men. That confirms a general datum of the Austrian church: less educational and social activities, and women are clearly more inclined to interaction and communication.

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