2022 Altar Servers Certificate Program Sets New Record

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2022 Altar Servers Certificate Program Sets New Record

Many ordained priests of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia have told Serrans that their vocation discernment began with their experience as altar servers to their parish priests and deacons. Most served while in elementary school, while others extended their activity throughout high school. 

If this experience continues, the impact on the archdiocese looks promising. 

This year, Vice President of Vocations Dawn Chism Simms, Esq. spearheaded an extensive campaign to honor the parishes’ graduating eighth grade and high school senior altar servers by providing Serra Altar Server Certificates to the parishes for presentation to these students.

Club volunteers delivered stylized certificates created by VP of Membership Lou Ferrero to the pastors or ministry leaders for the next step of handwriting the student’s name on each prior to presentation, often at graduation ceremonies. 

With research producing a list of 106 parishes that identified an altar server ministry, VP Simms and her team of eight committee members began contacting the parishes by phone and email immediately after Easter to line up participants and the required number of certificates.  By the campaign’s end in mid- June, 53 parishes forming eight deaneries across the five counties received 567 altar server certificates, most of them personally delivered by the team members.  

An increase of close to 21 percent in parishes and just short of 39 percent in student altar servers in one year is no small feat, especially as COVID concerns prompted some parishes to either restrict or halt their altar server ministry throughout this school year.

Deanery 10, Upper Bucks County, claimed the largest number at 226, with St. Jude Church and Shrine (Chalfont) leading with 55 students, and Saint Andrew Catholic Church (Newtown) following with 45. 

Deanery 7, which spans Eastern Montgomery County and Northwest Philadelphia, posted the second largest number of altar servers at 143, with St. Philip Neri Catholic Church (Lafayette Hill) topping at 35 and followed by St. Genevieve Parish (Flourtown) at 25. 

“I’m very happy with the record high increase in parish participation and number of certificate recipients this year,” Simms said of the results. 

“Congratulations, and a warm thank you to all graduates who faithfully volunteered to serve their parishes as altar servers! We’re very proud of you!” 

Deanery & Parish Number

Western Montgomery County – Deanery 5 63

St. Francis of Assisi Roman Catholic Church 2

St. Helena Church 12

St. Maria Goretti Parish 10

St. Mary Roman Catholic Church 6

Mary, Mother of the Redeemer Catholic Church 10

Sacred Heart Church 1

St. Titus Catholic Church 11

St. Eleanor Catholic Church 7

St. Gabriel of the Sorrowful Mother Parish 4

Main Line, Bridgeport, and Roxborough – Deanery 6 16

Saint John Baptist Vianney Parish 1

St. Margaret of Antioch Parish 10

St. Matthias Catholic Church 5

Eastern Montgomery County & Northwest Philadelphia 

– Deanery 7 143

Our Mother of Consolation Catholic Church 2

St. Philip Neri Catholic Church 35

St. Raymond of Penafort Parish 4

Our Lady Help of Christians Parish 9

St. Alphonus Parish 20

St. Genevieve Parish 25

St. Hilary of Poiters Church 21

St. Luke the Evangelist Parish 7

Queen of Peace Parish 20

South Philadelphia & Northern Liberties – Deanery 8 17

St. Thomas Aquinas 1

St. Monica Parish 6

St. Nicholas of Tolentine Parish 10

West Philadelphia & Center City – Deanery 9 19

Saint Francis DeSales Parish 10

St. Barnabas Church 4

St. Ignatius of Loyola Church 1

St. Martin dePorres Church 4

Upper Bucks County – Deanery 10 226

Saint Andrew Catholic Church 45

Our Lady of Guadalupe 35

St. Agnes Church 7

Our Lady of Mount Carmel Catholic Church 11

Holy Trinity Catholic Church 12

St. Ignatius of Antioch Church 7

St. John the Baptist Parish 20

St. Joseph Roman Catholic Church 10

St. Jude Church and Shrine 55

St. Lawrence Roman Catholic Church 5

Our Lady of Good Counsel Parish 10

St. Robert Bellarmine Roman Catholic Community 3

St. Vincent de Paul 6

Upper Northeast Philadelphia & Lower Bucks County 

– Deanery 11 55

Christ the King Church 9

Maternity B.V.M. Church 10

St. Anselm Church 2

St. Christopher Parish 11

St. Ephrem Church 10

St. Frances Cabrini Church 1

St. Matthew Parish 10

Our Lady of Grace Catholic Parish 2

Lower Northeast Philadelphia – Deanery 12 28

Resurrection of Our Lord 13

Visitation B.V.M. Parish 3

Holy Innocents Parish 8

St. John Paul II (St. Adalbert Church) 4

July 15, 2022