History of the Guild

The Guild of St Stephen is an International Organisation of Altar Servers founded in England in 1904 by Father Hamilton McDonald when he formed a Society of Altar Servers at the Convent of the Sacred Heart in London. In 1905, Pope Pius X gave his approbation to the Canonical establishment of the Guild at Westminster Cathedral and in 1906, the Sacred Congregation of Rites made the Guild an Archconfraternity prima primaria enabling all the parish branches to be linked with it. The Guild spread, and in 1934, Pope Pius XI enabled all Guilds of Altar Servers throughout the British Commonwealth to be affiliated with the Archconfraternity at Westminster. The objectives of the Guild:
  • To encourage, positively and practically, the highest standards of serving at the Church’s liturgy and so contribute to the whole community’s participation in a more fruitful worship of God.
  • To provide altar servers with a greater understanding of what they are doing so that they may serve with increasing reverence and prayerfulness and thereby be led to a deepening response to their vocation in life.
  • To unite servers of different parishes and dioceses for their mutual support and encouragement.

St Stephen

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.

God worked many miracles through Stephen and he spoke with such wisdom and grace that many of his hearers became followers of Jesus. The enemies of the Church of Jesus were furious to see how successful Stephen’s preaching was. At last, they laid a plot for him. They could not answer his wise argument, so they got men to lie about him, saying that he had spoken sinfully against God. Stephen faced that great assembly of enemies without fear. In fact, the Holy Bible says that his face looked like the face of an angel. Stephen spoke about Jesus, showing that He is the Saviour, God had promised to send. He scolded his enemies for not having believed in Jesus. At that, they rose up in great anger and shouted at him. But Stephen looked up to Heaven and said that he saw the heavens opening and Jesus standing at the right hand of God. His hearers plugged their ears and refused to listen to another word. They dragged Stephen outside the city of Jerusalem and stoned him to death. Stephen prayed, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit!”

Then he fell to his knees and begged God not to punish his enemies for killing him.

After such an expression of love, the holy martyr went to his heavenly reward. St Stephen’s feast day is on 26th December.

Director and Members of the Central Council

The Archbishop of Westminster is the Superior General of the Archconfraternity and he appoints a priest to be the National Director of the Guild. A lay Central Council consisting of a Lay President, Vice-President, Secretary, Treasurer and other members assists him in the running of the Guild. The Central Council is responsible for running the business side of the Guild.

National Director Fr Dennis F P Touw
Arundel & Brighton Fr Aaron Spineli
Birmingham Fr Craig Szmidt
Brentwood Fr David Pearce
Cardiff Mr Rick Hodgkiss
Clifton Vacant
East Anglia Fr Peter Rollings
Hallam Deacon Tony Strike
Hexham & Newcastle Mr Andy Doyle
Lancaster Mr Ian Mulholland
Leeds Mr Frank Sheridan
Liverpool Fr Paul Grady
Menevia Fr Jason Jones
Middlesborough Fr Peter Taylor
Northampton Deacon Peter Griffin
Nottingham Fr Jonathan Whitby-Smith
Plymouth Fr Michael Lock
Portsmouth Fr PJ Smith
Salford Fr James Mannock
Shrewsbury Canon Christopher Matthews
Southwark Fr Stephen Boyle
Westminster Fr Keith Stoakes
Wrexham Deacon David Ives


The Central Council

President Paul Briers. KCHS
Vice-President Catherine Burns
Secretary Vacant
Treasurer Quoc Van-Tran
Communications Officer Paul Woodhouse
Goods Manager Vincent Shalvey
Elected members Nicola Chrismas (Safeguarding officer)
Ian Mulholland
Michael O’Leary
Anthony Onguseitan
Elizabeth Woodhouse
Co-opted members Philip Prior
Appointed Diocesan Representatives Deacon Owen Gesty (Archdiocese of Birmingham)
Patrick Taylor (Archdiocese of Southwark)
Honorary Councillors Michael Chute KSG
Rose Curry
Michael Moriarty
Nicholas Tilbury
Official Photographer
Mike March (Pilgrim Photography)

I offer myself to God almighty, to blessed Mary, our Mother and to our holy patron, Saint Stephen

Archconfraternity of St. Stephen

P.O. Box 568

[email protected]