Parish after parish in the United States has a group of dedicated women who serve the church much as the women we find in the New Testament, especially in Paul’s letter. A group of laywomen in a parish church who maintain the ceremonial objects used in worship is given the name ‘altar society’. Every woman of the parish, or a woman married to a member of the parish, is a member of the Altar Society. Normally, a small fee – dues – is requested, but no one is ever turned away if these dues are not paid.
The core mission of the altar society remains - provide and care for the bread, wine, vessels, linens, vestments, candles, flowers and anything else needed for the altar during worship. The duties of members vary according to circumstances, in some instances including those which ordinarily fall within the sacristan's province, such as care of the vestments and altar vessels and making ready for Mass.
Instead of coming from dues, money for the supplies and projects at most parishes comes from a series of dinners, plant sales, garage sales, luncheons, fashion shows and other benefits. Women organize a fund for the maintenance and repair of church vessels and/or work to maintain the vessels in creative ways.
Ruth Blick - President
Marilyn Traffas - Vice Pres.
Rayann Rucker - Secretary
Ruth Schmidt - Treasurer