The Confraternity of the Blessed Sacrament
The CBS was founded in 1862 and is the Church of England's oldest devotional society open to both priests and laity. It exists for the advancement of the catholic faith in the Anglican tradition and the Confraternity's particular objects are to promote the following:
- The honour due to our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament of his Body and Blood,
- Prayer for one another at the Eucharist,
- Careful preparation for and receiving of Holy Communion, including the Eucharistic fast, and
- The reverent and dignified celebration of the Eucharist, and the reservation and veneration of the Blessed Sacrament.
There are just two branches (or 'Wards') of the Confraternity in the Diocese of Rochester and we are lucky enough to have one of them here at St John's. Our Ward was revived in 1988 (the date of the original formation is buried somewhere in the archives at Lambeth Palace) and was dedicated to the Transfiguration. Of the St John's people who joined or re-joined then, 20 years ago, six are still active members (or 'Associates' as they are called in CBS terminology) and thankfully have since been joined by a good many others.
Our Ward has no formal meetings as such but Associates are urged to attend Benedictions and to be present at Exposition whenever possible; and also, of course, to be as regular as they can in attendance at Mass. This last point is brought out in the first of the Confraternity's three rules, which are as follows:
1. To take part in the celebration of the Eucharist on all Sundays, greater festivals and Holy Days, whenever possible.
2. To promote the reverent celebrations of the Eucharist as the Church's daily offering.
3. To make special intercessions as set out in lists which are produced and distributed to all Associates at quarterly intervals.
We are always keen to increase our membership and anyone is welcome to join us.