What does the Diocese of Northampton Guild of St Stephen Council do?
We are volunteers from parishes throughout the Northampton Diocese who, under the direction of our Diocesan Director (appointed by Bishop Peter) – Rev Peter Griffin – meet together to provide information, assistance and encouragement to all parishes with altar servers.
If you would like more information, please contact a member of the council: Click Here
What is the Archconfraternity of Saint Stephen?
Our parishes are affiliated to the Archconfraternity of St Stephen in Westminster; a confraternity is a sort of club, or society, for people who are interested in the same things and want to do these together.
The Church uses the word 'confraternity' as the official name for societies set up in a parish. We often use another, easier, word instead of 'confraternity' - Guild.
An archconfraternity is a guild which has been given special power by the Church authorities in Rome. It has special privileges and facilities. Because it is an archconfraternity it can allow other guilds to share in those privileges and facilities.
That is what the Guild of Saint Stephen is. The main Archconfraternity is based at Westminster Cathedral, in London. It has many Guilds in parishes in Great Britain and around the world affiliated to it. Strictly speaking, only the Guild at Westminster Cathedral should call itself Archconfraternity, but parish Guilds call themselves branches of the Archconfraternity.
The website for the Archconfraternity of St Stephen (Westminster) is available from our links page.
Membership of the Guild is open to any server, without limit of age, who can serve Mass and who has shown a wish to live up to the objects and standards of the Guild.
Servers will have been given adequate training and reached the necessary standard before being admitted to the sanctuary and then should serve satisfactorily for a minimum of six months before being enrolled as a member of the Guild. The parish priest, or the local director of the Guild, decides whether a candidate is eligible and worthy of admission to the Guild and he is empowered to perform the ceremony of enrolment and invest the server with the Guild medal, using the prescribed form of enrolment.
Becoming a Guild Member
There is a special ceremony of enrolment into the Guild. During the ceremony the server makes a solemn promise and is presented with the Guild Medal, which is made of bronze and is worn around the neck, hanging from a red cord.
The medal means two things:
We also recommend the following:
The Guild Medal
The medal is worn around the neck on a red cord which reminds us that St Stephen was martyred because he believed in Christ.
In the centre the letters XP are the first two letters of the name 'Christ' in Greek.
At the top is the crown of victory symbolising the reward given by God to everyone who overcomes evil, especially those who die for him.
When he was alive, St Stephen would have answered to the name Kelil, which means 'crown' in Aramaic, the language spoken by the Apostles and those they first preached to.
At the bottom are the palm branches, traditional signs of martyrs who died for Christ.
Around the edge are the Latin words of the Guild motto:
CUI SERVIRE REGNARE EST.
TO SERVE CHRIST IS TO REIGN.
Attached to some medals are laurel leaves, which commemorate the centenary of the Archconfraternity 1905-2005. These are no longer available.
Starting the Guild in your Parish
If your parish already has The Guild of St Stephen established, you can obtain all your medals and certificates from our Goods Manager - follow the link to see the range of items available. Click here to access the shop.
If you are not already a member and you would like to establish the Guild of St Stephen in your parish please contact our Membership Department.
The process is quite straight forward, but can be a little time consuming as the application form needs to be signed by several people:
As soon as Bishop Peter signs your application form you may start to enrol your servers into The Guild.
Click Here to download an application form
Click Here to email David Sole (Membership Secretary) for more information