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ALTAR GUILD

ST. CATHERINE OF SIENA

"My Lord and my God."
(Jn 20:28)

"You are a server. As you assist the priest, who leads the worship of the Church, so you make Catholic worship more reverent, efficient, and beautiful. Your work for God is very important, and this [program] is designed to help you. At the altar, your service is directed firstly to God, secondly as help to the clergy, and thirdly  as assistance to the people who have gathered by God for worship. Your actions are visible. You appear in public, but you are never a performer. By your faithful duty, you remain always a servant of Jesus Christ in the community of His Church. A good server is not only skilled in a "craft" of duty at the altar but a humble and sincere person. The good server is a member of a team, working together in harmony with others, serving for the glory of God, learning that work at the altar is prayer in action. The good server is careful and reverent, even if there is only some small duty to perform." (Most Rev. Peter J. Elliott, Ceremonies Explained for Servers According to the Roman Rite: A Manual for Altar Servers, Acolytes, Sacristans, and Masters of Ceremonies, 1). 

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WHAT IS THE "ALTAR GUILD"?

AN INTRODUCTION. More than anything, the Altar Guild seeks to encourage the young to fully engage our Catholic faith through their service to the Church as ministers of the altar. Serving at the altar gives the young a hands on, personal experience of God’s work in the liturgy. It can also be an opportunity for them to work alongside other children and adults and be edified by their witness of faith. The servers will be challenged to develop and grow in virtue as they strive toward holiness. Through their service, youth altar servers provide the parish with an example of service, they witness to the seriousness and solemnity of the liturgy, and they inspire those who come to Mass with hope for the future of our Church. This program seeks to provide the basic structure for a process of instruction that will allow youth servers to continually progress in their knowledge and love of the both the liturgy and the traditions of the Church. This program also seeks to deepen a server’s spiritual life, to foster a greater sense of community between youth servers as well as incorporating them into the life of the parish.

WHEN & WHERE DOES THE “ALTAR GUILD” MEET?

Since we are just getting started, we will meet on the 1st and 3rd Tuesdays through March and April from 3:30pm - 4:30pm in the Parish Meeting Room (located in the lobby of the Parish Center/Gym) - alternating weeks with Kenosis! See below for the calendar/flyer. (ALTAR GUILD IS OPEN TO ALL 5th GRADE STUDENTS & OLDER, WHO ARE TRAINED AT ALTAR SERVING!)

 

Beginning in the fall of 2024, we hope to meet throughout the entire 2024-25 academic year. As this apostolate grows, we hope to eventually offer more outings and other social opportunities as well.

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PROGRAM STRUCTURE

FORMATION IN THE FAITH. Since 2024 will be our first meeting year, it will take some time to fully establish and develop the structure of this program. But the primary model of training for altar servers will be through mentorship and apprenticeship. While we host our bi-monthly meetings, servers will learn their duties for serving weekday and weekend liturgies, and they will learn more about the theology behind the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass as well. As we implement this new model of training and forming servers, over time we will work to establish quarterly scheduled trainings for new servers and practices for current servers, a ranking system with corresponding responsibilities and qualifications, and "trips"/outings. Servers will also partake in various forms of quizzes and activities that will be designed to correspond to the duties that a serve performs during Mass, and they will be tested in their knowledge of the Catholic faith in order to advance in ranking.

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GENERAL PRINCIPLES OF SERVING

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COMPORTMENT. Servers are entrusted with a very important and visible function during the celebration of the Church's liturgy. By the way in which they carry themselves and the reverence they show to the mysteries being celebrated, servers are able to inspire a congregation to deeper faith and devotion. It is therefore absolutely critical that servers understand that they lead the tone of the liturgy by what they do and how they do it. The must especially be attentive to the following:

  • Charity above all things. The server must treat others kindly and with compassion. He or she must always go out of his way to defer especially to those who are weak or disabled. He or she should always be looking to serve or lend a hand. It is never appropriate for a server to talk back to adults, to be rude, or to make fun of or demean anyone. This kind of behavior will simply not be tolerated. 

  • Hospitality. Those who enter the sacristy or the church and encounter a server should immediately feel welcomed. Servers go out of their way to help those who come to them with a request of question. They should be quick to explain and refer anyone in need to those who can help them. 

  • Dignity. The server should understand the dignity of his or her calling. They must carry themselves with confidence. Steps should be deliberate and confident, not mousy or shy. 

  • Recollection. The server should recognize that first and foremost, the liturgy is a work of prayer. Conversation in the sacristy should center around the faith or around carrying out the various tasks of the liturgy. Small talk, gossip, and other conversations that do not help us to focus on God's presence in our midst should be avoided.

  • Prayerfulness. During the liturgy, the server should be actively engaged in what is happening, regardless of whether he or she is involved in direct service. Servers should respond confidently during Mass, should enthusiastically sing the songs, hymns, and other sung parts of Mass, should listen attentively to the Word of God as it is proclaimed, and should quietly pray during the times of silence.

  • Joy. It is important that the server not be overly bubbly or superficial, but at the same time a friendly demeanor and smile are very important during service of the liturgy. If serving is not something that brings joy to the server, perhaps he or she needs to take some time away.

MAKING THE COMMITMENT...

Please complete and submit the forms below.

The Formation Team

Fr. Stef Bankemper, Pastor

sbankemper@stcatherineofsiena.org

Teresa Shaefer, Parish Secretary

tshaefer@stcatherineofsiena.org

John David Kimes, Coordinator of Religious Education

jdkimes@stcatherineofsiena.org

Katelyn Cottingham, Volunteer

Katelyn.e.cottingham@gmail.com

We are currently in need of additional VIRTUS

certified adults to volunteer as well.

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