Enrollments and promotions in the Archconfraternity of St. Stephen.
On Sunday 15th March, 14 boys were enrolled as Junior Acolytes, 7 boys were promoted to Senior Acolyte, 2 boys were promoted to Masters of Ceremonies and 1 boy was apponted as the President of the St. Thomas the Apostle Chapter of the ArchConfraternity of St. Stephen at the Priory of the Most Holy Trinity, Palayamkottai. The ceremony of enrollment has a privileged place in the Mass after the Credo. Special thanks to Br. Demetrius who runs the ArchConfraternity in Palayamkottai and who organised the event and ceremony.
Here is the sermon preached by Rev. Fr. Robert Brucciani on the happy occasion:
My Dear Brethren
WHAT IS AN ALTAR SERVER?
An altar server is a man who assists the priest, deacon and subdeacon by serving at the altar. In times past, this great privilege was reserved to the adopted sons of the Church, i.e. those who had received the tonsure.
To serve at the altar, as to sing in the choir, is next to the priesthood, the highest privilege which a layman can enjoy. An altar server represents the faithful and takes a most intimate part in the rich treasures of the Church’s liturgy and ceremonial. This means that the sacred ceremonies should be carried out with devotion, dignity and attention to detail.
Whether he is the Master of Ceremonies, Acolyte, Thurifer or a humble Torch Bearer, an altar server is in the service of the King of Kings and is always on parade. As the success and the rhythm of a parade is secured by the attention given by each member to the minutest detail, so the altar server must pay the greatest attention to every small detail.
But the value of an alter server’s service is not just measured by the scientific precision of his movements. In the eyes of God, it is also measured (and indeed enhanced) by the degree of sanctity and personal love which which each of the movements is performed.
WHAT IS THE ARCHCONFRATERNITY OF ST.STEPHEN?
- The Archconfraternity of St. Stephen is a pious group, canonically erected, to which is attached certain indulgences and privileges.
- The Archconfraternity was founded as a Guild in the Diocese of Westminster, England in 1904. Pope St. Pius X erected it as an Archconfraternity in 1906.
- Membership of the Guild is open to any boy or man, without any limit of age, who can serve Mass, and who has shown proof of a desire to conform to the object of the Guild.
- The object of the Guild is the sanctification of the Altar-Server:
(a) by teaching him that to serve in the Sanctuary is a great religious privilege,
(b) by instructing him the manner of observing the rites and ceremonies of the Church according to the rubrics and to the decrees of the Sacred Congregation of Rites and the interpretations of the most generally accepted authorities, and
(c) by encouraging him to understand the meaning and the purpose of the ceremonies in which he takes part.
With the object of increasing the fervour and devotion of members of the Guild, the Holy Father, on the 22nd May 1906, granted the following indulgences:
Three plenary indulgences
- on the day of admission.
- on the patronal feast of the Guild, 26th December,
- at the hour of death.
An indulgence of seven years and seven qy=uarantines (40 days)on each of the following feasts:
- Saint John, Apostle and Evangelist, 27th December,
- Saint Joseph, 19th March,
- Saints Peter and Paul, 29th June.
- Saint Michael, 29th September.
An indulgence of 300 days:
- every time a member recites the prayer: Direct, we beseech Thee, O Lord, our actions...
- in England and Wales, an indulgence of 200 days may also be gained every time a server recites the Guild prayer: O God, Who dost graciously accept the ministry of Thy servants…
- To serve at the Altar reverently, intelligently and punctually.
- To make the short acts of preparation before, and of thanksgiving after, serving Mass.
- To observe silence in the sacristy, and great reverence in the Sanctuary.
- To recite daily the Guild prayer.
There are five ranks within in the Archconfraternity
- Junior Acolyte
- Senior Acolyte
- Master of Ceremonies
Let us pray for these boys and young men that they may be worthy members of this venerable archconfraternity. May they, with our Lady’s help, sanctify themselves as members, give glory to God and edify their neighbour! +