Altar Girls Debut In Northern Virginia

HNP Communications Around the Province

ARLINGTON, Va. – History was made at a Catholic church here on March 26, when the first altar girls assisted at the Sunday service.

Father Leonard Tuozzolo told the congregation that “we’re no longer gender restricted” at Our Lady Queen of Peace Catholic Church.

Previously, the Arlington Diocese had been one of the last two in the nation to forbid females from assisting during Mass, but now the list is down to just Lincoln, Neb.

In a letter dated March 21, Bishop Paul Loverde wrote to the people of his diocese saying that he was expanding the diocesan policy on altar servers to permit women and girls to serve at parish Masses.

“The decision to allow female altar servers lies at the discretion of the local pastor,” the bishop wrote, “in consultation with his parochial vicar(s), deacon(s), and parish pastoral council.”

According to Robert Menard, the announcement produced a standing ovation when it was read at Mass at St. Francis in Triangle, Va. St. Francis is currently training interested young women, and expects them to be serving shortly.

Bob said that a few complaints were expressed to the pastor, Jack Marino, but that generally the attitude at St. Francis towards the change is positive.