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 threefold object of the Guild which is Sanctification of the Altar Server through:
1.) Giving the server to understand the great privilege the Church allows by letting him serve in the Church ceremonies,
2.) Instructing him on how to observe the rites and ceremonies of the Catholic Church,
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. It is recommended that a server after admission to the Sanctuary serve at least six months before being admitted to membership of the Guild. The local Director of the church decides whether a candidate is eligible, and is empowered to perform the ceremony of enrollment...
Every member on enrollment promises to observe the following rules:
1. To serve at the Altar reverently, intelligently and punctually.
2. To make the short acts of preparation before, and of thanksgiving after, serving Mass.
3. To observe silence in the sacristy, and great reverence in the Sanctuary...
Patron of the Guild
Stephen's name means, "crown", and he was the first disciple of Jesus to receive the martyr's crown. Stephen was a deacon in the early Christian Church. The Apostles had found that they needed helpers to look after the care of the widows and the poor. So they ordained seven deacons, and Stephen is the most famous of these...