Acolytes support clergy and lay leaders in offering services that reflect the history and mission of the Cathedral and help those attending prepare their hearts and minds for worship. Since the Cathedral’s first services, young men and women have served in these important roles.
Comprised of a team of students attending National Cathedral School and St. Albans School, the Cathedral acolyte program is one of the few of its kind in the world. Participation in the acolyte program is a combination of weekly worship and special occasions. Acolytes serve year-round at the Cathedral’s principal Sunday Holy Eucharist, Sunday Choral Evensong, and other special day liturgies. They also have the opportunity to participate in services of national importance such as presidential funerals, inauguration services, and commemorative events.
The term of service for an acolyte is a twelve-month commitment beginning in June of each year. During the academic year, acolytes typically serve four out of five Sundays (seven to twelve hours per month). During the summer, acolytes serve a minimum of seven Sundays in a typical fourteen-week summer break (seven hours per month).
In recognition of the time commitment required of the students, the Cathedral offers an annual tuition stipend of $3,000. Additionally, acolytes are eligible for extra income for participation in special events, and that amount is paid directly to the acolyte.