Their essential function is to provide a worshipful atmosphere by assisting the Celebrant throughout the order of service. They process in and out with the Celebrant, light candles, carry incense and the crucifix, help with the altar linens, cruets, chalice, and paten, and aid in the smooth progression of the Mass.
Membership is open to all ages, male and female. Members must be baptized Catholics having received their first communion, and believe in the Real Presence of our Lord in the Eucharist.
Altar servers are appointed by the pastor and undergo training, held twice a year, and often attend “rehearsals” for more complex or solemn liturgical functions.
The St. Francis de Sales Choir is a 25+ member group of singers dedicated to providing the finest choral music for worship at our church, carrying on a deep tradition of sacred music in our parish that stretches back to the 1920s.
Throughout its history, the Choir has fostered a strong sense of community within its members and a commitment to sustaining the unique gifts and characteristics that make our Parish such a special and inspiring place and an “anchor and beacon” for this neighborhood. We sing challenging works — but you do not have to read music or have a musical background to participate (many in the choir can’t read music).
As the choir’s director since 1997, Isabel Boston conducts, selects choral music and hymns, assigns cantors, and provides music for holy days throughout the liturgical year. An avid chorister since the age of 9, Isabel grew up in a music conservatory run by her father, Joseph Prendergast, where she cultivated a life-long interest in classical music. She joined the choir at St. Francis de Sales in 1989 and has sung with a number of vocal performance groups ever since, including Ancient Voices, an ensemble at the University of Pennsylvania, directed by William Parberry specializing in early music. Her husband, Rod Boston, sings in the choir’s tenor section.
Organist Bruce Shultz formed the present all-volunteer choir of mixed voices in 1975. Many features of the music program bear his influence: his original “Mass for John Paul II” is a regular setting of the Mass at St. Francis de Sales.
The Knights of Peter Claver were founded in Mobile, Alabama, in 1909, in an age of strict segregation. The fraternal organization was named after the Jesuit saint who ministered to African slaves in Colombia in the 16th century, and initially provided fellowship and spiritual direction for African American Catholics.
The Religious of the Assumption regularly gather groups from the parish to work through The Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius of Loyola at the Assumption Convent, located at 1001 S 47th Street.