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Catholic Dictionary




A minor church officer whose duties have varied over the centuries and in different localities. Under Gregory the Great a beadle was the "guardian of the church," who was to light the lamps or candles. Later he came to be an usher who led people into their seats, or an announcer who read messages to the congregation, or something of a bodyguard who preceded a bishop or other prelate to clear the way for his passage through a crowd. (Etym. Anglo-Saxon b_odan, to command, to bid.)