Annual Guild of S. Stephen Mass for altar servers, 2018
On Saturday, the 22nd of September, the Bishop welcomed altar servers from all over the Diocese and their families to the Cathedral church of S. Barnabas for the Annual Guild of S. Stephen Mass. The music at Mass was provided by the choir from the English Martyrs Catholic Academy, from Leicester. At the end of Mass, the Bishop presented Ms. Bernadette Hickey and Mr. Joe Hopkins with their Guild silver medals of merit, to mark twenty years of serving at the altar. The Bishop also took this opportunity to present Mr. James Noakes with the S. Hugh of Lincoln Diocesan award, in recognition of thirty years of service at the altar. The following is a photo-set from the event.
"Altar Servers from all corners of the Nottingham Diocese gathered on Saturday, the 22nd of September, at the cathedral, for the Annual Guild of S. Stephen Mass. The mass was led by Bishop Patrick who welcomed the servers, their families and friends to this special occasion. There were around 100 servers there, from those who had just begun serving, to others who had been serving for thirty-five years. Bishop Patrick spoke in his homily of the importance of servers within parishes and thanked each of them for the hard work they do. He asked all there to think about their vocations and how being altar servers can help them with this. He encouraged us to pray and to be faithful at all times. Many of our diocesan altar servers took an active part in the mass: doing the readings, bidding prayers and offertory procession. Joe Hopkins and Bernadette Hickey received recognition for twenty years of service to the guild in their parishes and schools. James Noakes, who has loyally served for thirty years was thanked by the bishop and all in attendance for his great work - all three a great inspiration to younger servers watching from the pews. Music at the mass was provided by the English Martyrs School in Leicester whose singing filled the cathedral with lovely sounds. After the mass, servers posed for photographs with the Bishop and mingled with other servers. A great day!"
Mairi-Frances McKay comes from the parish of S. Peter, Leicester.
"Altar Servers from across the Diocese gathered together for their annual celebration of Mass on Saturday the 22nd of September, 2018. It was wonderful to see a spectrum of colours and sizes of albs, cassocks and cottas from every county of the diocese. Some servers from Boston had set off over three hours before the start of Mass to be there on time. The Mass celebrated was that of their Patron S. Stephen, the first Christian martyr, whose faith was strange not just in his death but in his service of the early Church and the Apostles. Bishop Patrick was the principal celebrant and preached about how in the Mass as servers we have a unique encounter of serving Our Lord Jesus, of discovering Him meeting us and calling us to follow Him in prayer and devotion. The music was led by the choir of English Martyrs Secondary Academy in Leicester, with some beautiful singing, chanting and instrumental arrangements.
"Special congratulations were presented to Ms. Bernadette Hickey and myself, who were awarded the Medal of Merit by Bishop Patrick on behalf of the Guild of S. Stephen, for twenty years of dedicated service at the Altar. Mr. James Noakes was award the S. Hugh of Lincoln Medal for outstanding service to the Diocese of Nottingham for thirty years of service to the Altar; James has also for a number of years organised the Altar Servers Mass for which we are very grateful. What an incredible celebration of a combined seventy years of being Altar Servers! With over one hundred Altar Servers present, with a variety of ages, it would be great to be able to total up the combined years of service for all present!"
Joe Hopkins is the Lead Lay Chaplain of the new Saint Ralph Sherwin Catholic Multi-academy Trust. He is pictured above with Ms. Hickey, having received his shiny new Medal of Merit.