National Acolyte Festival
Welcome back to the premier yearly celebration of acolytes on October 7, 2023!
Washington National Cathedral is delighted to welcome back acolytes from across the country to celebrate this vital ministry of service and faith.
The festival is a time-honored tradition for many congregations, and we are eager for your return this fall as we also welcome those making their first pilgrimage to the Cathedral.
Registration is Now Open
Registration Fee: $10 per acolyte (youth and adult)
- There is no registration fee for processing clergy or vergers, or family and friends attending the service.
- The registration deadline to be included in printed program is September 29, 2023.
- Parking reservations are required if your group is coming by bus, and there is a $50 fee for bus parking. Please contact [email protected] for parking procedure and payment information.
- Lunch is available for pre-purchase ($9) on the registration page. Lunch includes a sandwich, chips, and a piece of fruit. Lunches must be purchased by September 29. Due to the limited nature of the food offerings, we recommend that those with food allergies or serious dietary restrictions bring their lunch with them or make other arrangements.
The Holy Eucharist
The day begins with acolytes, servers, clergy and vergers joining in the longest and most colorful procession imaginable—the Grandest of Processions—as we prepare to gather around Christ’s table for a festival Holy Eucharist.
The Reverend Melanie Mullin
Director of Reconciliation Justice & Creation Care
Office of the Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church
The Procession: Vesting and Appointments
All acolytes, vergers, servers, and clergy are invited and encouraged to vest and participate in the Grandest of Processions. You are welcome to bring crosses and torches, banners, streamers, and other appointments from your parish. You are also welcome to bring thuribles, but for safety reasons they cannot be lit.
A Celebration of Service
Following the service, participants are invited to spend the afternoon exploring the Cathedral and joining a variety of workshops. Perfect your thurible techniques, create a liturgical streamer, take a look at Cathedral treasures, and hear from Cathedral clergy about their own years of acolyte service.
Lunch is available for pre-purchase ($9) on the registration page. Lunch includes a sandwich, chips, and a piece of fruit. Lunches must be purchased by September 29. Due to the limited nature of the food offerings, we recommend that those with food allergies or serious dietary restrictions bring their lunch with them or make other arrangements.
Doors open and registration begins
Festival Holy Eucharist with the Grandest of Processions
Pre-purchased lunches available
Cathedral LEGO® exhibit open
Cathedral treasures on view
Kite and streamer making and streamer training
Cathedral Clergy: the Journey from Acolyte to Ordination
- Thurible Training
- Training and Building an Acolyte Team
- History of Acolytes, Vergers, and Deacons