"Mega, awesome, cool!" That was twelve-year-old Linus’s comment. He is one of 60,000 Catholic altar servers from across the world who made the pilgrimage to Rome this year to see the pope. With the Eternal City sweltering in temperatures around 40 degrees Celsius this summer it wasn’t always "cool." But nothing could stop these kids.
The International Pilgrimage of altar servers started as a German initiative in 1960. This year sixty thousand altar boys and girls from across the world gathered in Rome. Our reporter accompanied a group from western Germany. The motto this year was: "Seek peace and pursue it." In practice, this often meant: "Find some shade and water!" Rome’s fountains turned out to be the most popular tourist sites . . . But the kids didn’t flake. Enthused with the knowledge that they are not alone in serving Mass on Sundays they rejoiced in being part of an enormous worldwide community.