Guild of St Stephen: Altar Servers Ministry
The Guild of St Stephen is an International Organisation of Altar Servers founded in England in 1904 by Father Hamilton McDonald when he formed a Society of Altar Servers at the Convent of the Sacred Heart in London.
In 1905, Pope Pius X gave his approbation to the Canonical establishment of the Guild at Westminster Cathedral and in 1906, the Sacred Congregation of Rites made the Guild an Archconfraternity prima primaria enabling all the parish branches to be linked with it.
The Guild spread, and in 1934, Pope Pius XI enabled all Guilds of Altar Servers throughout the British Commonwealth to be affiliated with the Archconfraternity at Westminster.
The objectives of the Guild:
To encourage, positively and practically, the highest standards of serving at the Church's liturgy and so contribute to the whole community's participation in a more fruitful worship of God.
To provide altar servers with a greater understanding of what they are doing so that they may serve with increasing reverence and prayerfulness and thereby be led to a deepening response to their vocation in life.
To unite servers of different parishes and dioceses for their mutual support and encouragement.
We are very proud that many of our children serve at Mass on a Sunday as well as ex-St Edmund’s pupils who continue to serve on a weekly basis.
Ministers of the Word
In proclaiming the word of God, readers exercise their responsibility in mediating the presence of Christ. God speaks to the congregation through them, and, the impact of God’s message will depend significantly on their conviction, their preparation, and their delivery.
The reader has responsibility for not simply reading the word, but assisting the congregation to hear the word. This requires the reader to be attentive to the congregation, and careful to allow for times of pause and silence as the congregation prepares to listen and, once the reading has been proclaimed, as it takes the word of God to heart.
We are incredibly lucky to have a team of readers from St Edmund’s School who help us understand the ‘Liturgy of the Word’ each week. We thank them for their service and commitment to this role – it is very difficult to read and project your voice to a church full of people particularly when there are so many younger members in the congregation.
Ministers of Music
The psalm and the gospel acclamation are integral and constitutive elements of the Liturgy of the Word. They are intended to be sung. Ministers of music exercise a liturgical function within each service and by their role help to add beauty and solemnity to the celebration.
Ministers of Music also have an important role in assisting the clergy and other liturgical ministers to develop confidence in using the chants provided in the Roman Missal for the dialogues, acclamations, intercessions and readings of the Liturgy of the Word.
At St Edmund’s we contribute by joining in with the singing but again we are incredibly lucky to have some of our families who play a larger part in the helping us to celebrate Mass through singing and music. If you feel you would like to help in this ministry, come along on a Sunday morning and join the Family Mass Choir.
A servant's heart is the most important quality when practising this ministry. This team is made up of families who share their warmth and hospitality by giving a friendly smile to make people feel welcome at
St Edmund’s Church.
Whoever you are, wherever you are from, whatever your background, you are welcome at St Edmund’s and the welcome team serve others by ensuring the congregation have the books and information needed to participate and share in the Mass with our whole congregation.
Thank you to the children from St Edmund’s and their families for carrying out this incredibly important ministry. You are the first people visitors see and you give that first impression of what our community is like – a happy place to be, a place where we can come to know God more closely.