The Knights of the Alter Programme is designed to help students internalize the Catholic formation they receive by enabling them to actively participate in the liturgy as altar servers and develop a personal prayer life that will help them form life-long habits.
Heralds proudly don the uniform of a white alb and gold cincture and could serve ordinary Masses and participate in the simpler roles of solemnity Masses and special liturgical celebrations.
Those who show sufficient interest and aplomb in serving are invited to study for the next stage: Squire. Squires are privileged to drape a deep green or red amice over the Herald uniform.
Only twelve of approximately sixty boys who join the program actually make it to knighthood every year, so the competition is intense.
The boys have to memorize the responses to the Mass in both English and Latin. An aspirant must show fluid command of the ins and outs of sacristy lore, be able to serve as Master of Ceremonies for the often complicated Feastday and Solemnity Masses, and also be a role model for other boys, with no disciplinary problems whatsoever.
Knighthood Investiture Ceremony
After a pizza party, the boys have a sleep-over in the school building. Before going to bed, those about to become Knights spend half an hour in adoration before the Blessed Sacrament, just like the knights of old. The next morning they wake up early and process out carrying candles to the ruins of a 7th century chapel on the school grounds.
There the priest solemnly presents them with the red cassock and white surplices of a Knight of the Altar, knights them with a cross in a simple but heart-stirring ceremony, and invites them to pronounce a special prayer written for the occasion.
For many boys, reaching that moment is like a dream come true.