We could light our Turibles in a force 10 gale, swap our gleaming pattens from hand to hand without batting an eyelid and our synchronised genuflection was, purely and simply, the talk of the sacristy.
The nuns of the Convent required four sturdy lads to serve at their Easter Ceremonies.
These volunteers would be required to infiltrate the convent walls, witness ceremonies other boys would never dream of, and eat hard boiled eggs in the convent dining room.
We felt we were ready.
We each brought their own particular skills to the team. For instance, Plu Kilcawley's two-kneed genuflection may have owed more to Bruce Lee than to Saint Martin De Porres but it would always strike mortal fear into those heretic hoards out beyond the altar rails.
For my own part, I was known to be 'good' with a communion bell - very good.
That whole weekend remains embedded in my memory. There was the sad and silent Good Friday ceremony with the passion reading that would not end. There was the Holy Saturday midnight mass where a huge crucifix had to be carried backwards up the central aisle under the steely gaze of the nuns. There were those eggs afterward.
But it is the Holy Thursday that most sticks in my mind...
The time before the mass was severely dragging its heels. So, when some non-serving mates invited me out for a game of football, it seemed like a good idea.
When the game was over, I had to grab my bag and run for the convent at the last moment. I got there but only just.
The nun's seats all ran at right angles to the altar and each had her own little compartment in which to perch.
The gig went just fine - up until the moment that the priest announced the 'Ceremony of the Washing of the Feet'.
I turned to Skippy Hopper.
'That's right,' said Skippy as he pulled his socks off, 'weren't you told?'
I most certainly was not!
I looked down at my own feet and winced. Bath Night was just a distant memory and all that football had done nothing to improve them.
I kicked off my shoes.
Father Gilhooley approached us carrying an angelic white ceramic bowl and a pristine white cloth. He stooped in front of Plu, took his leg and dipped his bare foot in the bowl then, removing it, made a nominal gesture toward patting it dry.
I was the last in line.
The priest kneeled before me and, only then, became aware of the dreadful condition of my feet.
He gave an audible sigh, motioned the offending articles into the bowl, rolled up his sleeves and set to work. Soaking one end of the cloth in the water he scrubbed and buffed my poor under-attended feet.
The nuns in their compartments leaned forward and craned to see what was happening.
When he finally rose, the bowl had a rich grey ring just above the water line, the cloth was beyond reasonable repair but my feet were Christian once again. He glared at me and shook his head sadly before returning to the altar.
And, even though my subsequent communion-bell-work was well up to par, I don't think he ever really forgave me.
(c) Ken Armstrong