Altar Servers

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A Brief History of the Altar Servers' Guild

The Guild of St. Stephen was founded at the beginning of the last century, in 1905, and celebrated its Centenary Year in 2005.  Its founder was Father Hamilton MacDonald, who was chaplain at the Convent of the Sacred Heart, at Hammersmith in London.

St. Mary’s Cathedral Guild, which was the second to be formed in Scotland, and was granted affiliation to the Archconfraternity at Westminster, in February 1960.  The Guild chaplain at that time was Father Mario Conti, now the Emeritus Archbishop of Glasgow. George Brand, who is a founder member of the Guild of St. Stephen at St. Mary’s Cathedral, was appointed Master of Ceremonies in 1970, and fulfils the additional role of Diocesan MC.  He has responsibility for maintaining the proper and smooth conduct of the sacred liturgies, and is a member of the Scottish National Liturgy Commission. George was invested as a Knight in the Pontifical Equestrian Order of St. Gregory the Great in 2002.

There are a growing number of parishes throughout the Diocese of Aberdeen, where servers have been enrolled as members of the Guild of St. Stephen.

The Feast of St. Stephen is celebrated on 26 December each year, when servers gather together to honour their patron saint.

Rules of the Guild

 1)    to serve at the altar with reverence, understanding and regularity, and with due attention to personal cleanliness and tidiness

2)    to say short prayers in preparation for, and in thanksgiving after serving at Mass

3)    to observe silence in the sacristy and great reverence in the sanctuary

4)  to recite the Guild Prayer every day


Membership of the Guild of St. Stephen is open to any server without limit of age, who can assist at Mass, and who has shown a sincere wish to live up to the rules and standards set by the Guild.  It is recommended that servers should go through a period of training, and serve satisfactorily for a minimum period of between six to twelve months before being enrolled as a member.


New servers are encouraged to join the more experienced members within the sanctuary, where they can watch and learn at first hand.  By this method they gradually gain knowledge and skill as they make progress in serving at the altar.  Practices are held on Friday evenings between 5.00pm and 5.30pm, as advertised in ChurchSuite.

Dress Code

All servers are asked to make sure their alb, cassock and / or surplice, is clean, wax free and in good condition before entering the sanctuary, as it should be every week.  A parent, guardian or adult family member should be in attendance to assist servers when changing their outer clothing.  It would also be preferred if all servers wore black or brown shoes when serving at the altar, and NOT trainers, as this does not look well under albs and cassocks.

Guild Promise

I offer myself to God Almighty, to blessed Mary our mother, and to our Holy Patron, St. 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.