The Altar Server's Handbook of The Archconfraternity of St. Stephen
is the ultimate altar boy ceremonial, covering the general directions for serving and the manner of serving every form of the Mass, from Low Mass to Solemn High Mass.Chapters:
The Manner of Serving Low Mass
Communion outside Mass
Solemn High Mass
High Mass—Missa Cantata
High Mass of Requiem
Mass before the Blessed Sacrament Exposed
The Archconfraternity of Saint Stephen is a Guild formed with the object of sanctifying the server while serving the Mass and other sacred ceremonies. It was formed in March of 1905 in England by Father Hamilton MacDonald with the permission of Cardinal Bourne, then Archbishop of Westminster. Later of that same year, it was blessed by Saint Pius X. On December 04, 1906, the same Pope erected the guild to be an Archconfraternity with permission to establish other chapters of the Guild outside of the Diocese of Westminster within the British Isles. On February 19, 1934, Pope Pius XI allowed the Guild to spread throughout the entire British empire, and throughout the world.
Why is it important to have a Guild like the Archconfraternity? It helps us to come closer to the source of all graces, the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. To be like the good angels led by Saint Michael, that is, to serve God. It develops a deeper contemplation on the Sacrifice of the Cross. The soul is nourished by frequent reception of Our Lord in Holy Communion. “To serve at the Altar… is next to the Priesthood the highest privilege which a layman can enjoy”(a quote from Cardinal Griffin’s Preface). It also develops devotion in the soul. It helps us to become more devout. The children (boys) develop good behavior at an early age. Their souls are fed with doctrines in the Catechism and nourished by serving the Mass. Their innocence are kept having the knowledge of what is right and wrong. “What you sow, you reap,” says the Lord. Therefore, if you sow in this kids the knowledge of God, that is through catechism and serving Mass, and they grow with it, expect good Catholics and good vocations in the future.
Who may join the Archconfraternity? “Membership is open to any boy or man, without any limit of age, who can serve Mass, and who has the desire to conform to the objectives of the Guild”(Handbook). To serve reverently, intelligently, regularly, and punctually are the basic objectives of the Guild. We are encouraging the boys and men alike, of the Parish, to join us to serve Our Lord and stay with Our Lady at the foot of the cross by serving the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass!The Archconfraternity exists for the sanctification of the server and the salvation of his soul. Catholic organization like this helps build the society by promoting the sacramental value of the Holy Mass. It promotes the Mass, the source of all graces, the glory of the martyrs, our consolation here on Earth, and the foundation of the eternal truths. The Holy Mass and the Archconfraternity go together, they are inseparable! And, of course, the prayers of Saint Stephen, the First Martyr, one of the First Seven Deacons (Acts) to shed blood for Our Lord Jesus Christ, are so efficacious before God. He would never allow a Catholic organization dedicated to his name go on extinction. The Archconfraternity, therefore being a witness to the tradition of Our Holy Mother the Church, will help us think of the great value of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, how to love the Mass, how to treasure it, and most of all, how to defend it at all times. God wills that the Mass and Guild should continue and thanks be to Him for having them here in Our Lady of
Victories.CUI SERVIRE REGNARE EST ('To serve Him, who is to reign.')