Confraternity Forms New Ward in Florida

Leaders of the service establishing the Confraternity's newest ward, St. Thomas', St. Petersburg, Fla.

By Richard Mammana

On August 30, 2022, the commemoration of Bishop Charles Chapman Grafton, 11 members formed the newest ward of the Confraternity of the Blessed Sacrament at St. Thomas’ Episcopal Church in St. Petersburg, Florida, where the Rev. Ryan Whitley is rector.

The 157-year-old confraternity is the oldest devotional society in the Anglican Communion, founded to promote careful preparation for the reception of Holy Communion. It began in the United States in 1867 at Trinity, Wall Street under the direction of Grafton with two priests and a layman, joined soon after by the sisters of the young Community of St. Mary.

The American Branch of the Confraternity held its 155th Annual Mass and Meeting on the Feast of Corpus Christi at St. Paul’s, Riverside, Illinois as guests of the Rev. Luke Wetzel, rector. The Rt. Rev. Daniel Martins assumed duties this year as Superior-General of the confraternity, succeeding Bishop Dorsey F. Henderson. The Rev. John Heschle continues as Vice Superior-General, while the Very Rev. William Willoughby of the Collegiate Church of St. Paul the Apostle, Savannah, Georgia begins his 34th year of service as Secretary-General.

Deacon Robert Armidon, the Rev. Steven Rice of St Timothy’s Episcopal Church, Winston-Salem, and Richard Mammana were constituted a committee on communications to support the organization. Since 2016, Rice has maintained the website at confraternityusa.org and Mammana has managed the organization’s Facebook page. In 2022, Armidon launched an Instagram account for the organization, which now provides its once-secret biannual Intercession Paper online for free. Armidon is also assistant secretary-general.

The confraternity publishes devotional material, assists parishes in need of items for the celebration of the Eucharist, and encourages daily intercession as well as fasting and good works. Dues are $5.00 per calendar year.

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