St Stephen’s name means, “crown,” and he was the first disciple of Jesus to receive the martyr’s crown. Stephen was a deacon in the early Christian Church. The apostles had found that they needed helpers to look after the care of the widows and the poor. So they ordained seven deacons, and Stephen is the most famous of these. He is the main patron saint of Servers.
God worked many miracles through Stephen and many people become followers of Jesus through him. The enemies of the Church were not happy about this and made lies, saying he had spoken sinfully. Stephen spoke to them about Jesus and told them off for not believing but they got even more angry. He looked up and saw the Heavens opening and Jesus at the right hand of God. His enemies were furious and dragged him outside the walls of Jerusalem and stoned him to death as he prayed “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit!”. His Feast Day is the 26th December.
St Thomas More
Thomas More was born in London in 1478. Working in law he was appointed Lord Chancellor by Henry VIII. He disagreed with King Henry VIII when the King wanted a divorce and remained loyal to the Pope and to the Church during the reformation. He too was an Altar Server, and used to serve in the Chelsea Old Church by the Banks of the River Thames in London. His loyalty and regular commitment to Altar Serving means he is one of the patrons of the guild.
Pope Saint Pius X
Pope Pius X gave the Guild of St Stephen the Church’s highest approval in 1906. He also encouraged greater participation of the Mass by singing and the importance of the Mass. He also lowered the age of First Holy Communion and allowed regular reception of Communion at Mass. During a visit of the Guild nationally to Rome, Pope Pius XII recommended that he be a patron of the guild. For him the Mass– and full participation of it– was the centre of everything.
Pope Pius XII at Castel Candolfo on the Golden Jubilee Pilgrimage of the Guild in 1955 said: “We welcome the members of the Archconfraternity of St Stephen for Altar Servers at present in Rome. We welcome them as youth, for young people are specially dear to Our heart- they are the foundation of the future Church. We welcome them as servers, those who most closely help the priest in offering the supreme sacrifice of the Mass. We welcome them especially on the Feast of St Pius X, who can so truely be regarded as the Pope of the Holy Eucharist. We recommend all the members of the Archconfeaternity to Our Lady and to St Pope Pius X, that they may remain upright and pure and steadfast in their service of the Altar.”
Mary is the Mother of Jesus, so she is the Mother of the Church. Therefore she must also be the mother of all Altar Servers. Mary served others all her life, which is why she was chosen to be the Mother of God.