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St Richard's Saturday Mass on 4th September also celebrated our altar servers: the Mass was uplifted by hymns, the unusual presence of the thurible fired up, and the sight of twenty of our altar servers, in their white albs.
Fr Alexander postponed the planned homily for the day, and turned to his team for a talk, often with humour, preparing them to be enrolled in the Guild of St Stephen, which was founded in 1904, whose members promise to serve with reverence and care.
Fr Alexander reminded us all of the twenty centuries of Christian tradition - and the thirty centuries since incense was first offered by Solomon in the Temple. He gave a forthright review of Catholic practice - our signs and symbols - the pride we share in observing historic gestures, bowing our heads to the name of Jesus, and also acknowledging the name of Our Lady (perhaps less familiar to the congregation included in this reminder).
"We have a treasure in the Mass" look after it - with care".
Promises were pledged, medals were presented - the people applauded and, most importantly,we realised afresh how much we value this group of our young people enhancing our worship.
Now we also hope that the gift of priestly vocation might fall upon our young men. Certainly at our three churches, tradition and reverence is in safe hands. The Guild motto is "To serve Christ is to Reign"
The bemedalled procession headed down the aisle, to resume day clothes and enjoy a barbecue whose wafting smoke might have impressed King Solomon!
The Guild pledge:
I offer myself to God almighty,
to blessed Mary, our Mother
and to our holy patron, Saint Stephen.
And I promise to do my best
to serve regularly
with reverence and understanding,
for the glory of God,
the service of his Church, and my own eternal salvation.