Archconfraternity of St. Stephen

Rev. Lawrence Barrett

On 24 January 2016 a meeting was held at St. Michael’s School in view of renewing the St. Michael’s Chapter of the Archconfraternity of St. Stephen, or commonly known as St. Stephen’s Guild in England. The Guild, its object, rules, and history were considered along with some more practical points.

Object of the Guild

What is the object of the guild? It is threefold. First, “The sanctification of the server by teaching him that to serve in the sanctuary is a great privilege.” Second, instructing him in the rubrics, i.e. the movements of the liturgy.” Third, “encouraging him to understand the meaning and the purpose of the ceremonies in which he takes part.”

Rules of the Guild

The Guild will help us to reach this object by means of these rules, which all members promise to keep: First, to serve at the altar reverently, intelligently, and punctually. Second, to make short acts of preparation before, and of thanksgiving after serving Mass. Third, to observe silence in the sacristy, and great reverence in the sanctuary. Fourth, to recite daily the short guild prayer. These are not so difficult and should be things servers are doing for the most part already.

History of the Guild

One may wonder where the Guild began, America, Australia, or elsewhere? Think again, a little closer to home—yes, right here in England! Hence I think it is our duty to uphold and promote this Guild all the more. For the moment unfortunately it is stronger abroad than at home.

The Guild continues to grow and flourish throughout the world, being introduced into countries where it had never existed before thanks to the Society of St. Pius X.

The Future

So we will be doing our best in the forthcoming months to re-establish the Guild firstly at St. Michael’s School and then throughout the rest of the district.

We have the honour of having Mr. Richard Cullen as acting President of our Chapter, who himself was enrolled in the Guild in 1962, a long-standing member!

He will be helping to organise practices and training sessions along with Brother Columba, both of whom have put in much effort to keep a good standard of serving at the school already.

This first meeting was a great success, many more were there than expected, and I already have a list of about 40 potential members. The next step will be to evaluate the new members. They will take a test for the level at which they think they stand, as most have already served before. If they pass the test, they will enter the Guild at that rank (e.g. Junior or Senior Acolyte). As for those who are already members, they will not need to retake any tests and they will continue at the level at which they are. We pray to St. Stephen to bring this work to a good end.

St. Stephen, Pray for us.

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