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The Instituted Acolyte

Today, I am with Bishop Lopes at our Cathedral in Houston, Texas. I'll be back tomorrow; it is just a quick trip down and back. Bishop Lopes is instituting a few men as Acolytes in the Ordinariate, one of whom is our own St. George parishioner, Rook Seraiah (yes, my youngest son). An Acolyte is an official layman's ministry in the Catholic Church (it used to be called a "minor order", but is no longer); not ordained, but still only appointed by the Bishop for service to the Priest and/or Deacon. While a Priest can appoint any man to the position of server or reader, the Acolyte is more deeply trained for all of the duties of server, lector, thurifer, porter, verger, MC, as well as serving in the role of subdeacon.

Here is the admonition which forms part of the ceremony of Institution:

“Dear sons in Christ, as a man chosen for the ministry of acolyte, you will have a special role in the Church's ministry. The summit and source of the Church's life is the Eucharist, which builds up the Christian community and makes it grow. It is your responsibility to assist priests and deacons in carrying out their ministry, and as extraordinary ministers to give holy communion to the faithful at the liturgy and to the sick. Because you are specially called to this ministry, you should strive to live more fully by the Lord's sacrifice and to be molded more perfectly in its likeness. You should seek to understand the deep spiritual meaning of what you do, so that you may offer yourself daily to God as a spiritual sacrifice acceptable to him through Jesus Christ.

“In performing your ministry bear in mind that, as you share one bread with your brothers and sisters, so you form one body with them. Show a sincere love for Christ's Mystical Body, God's holy people, and especially for the weak and the sick. Be obedient to the commandment which the Lord gave to his apostles at the Last Supper: ‘Love one another as I also have loved you.’”

Although this appointment is required for those men who desire to become Deacons or Priests, there is not a requirement that every Instituted Acolyte will pursue holy orders in the future. There are no special titles for the Instituted Acolyte, but there are a number of duties that the man willingly takes when the Bishop gives him this assignment. So I encourage you to pray for our new Acolyte; as well as to pray for our entire community that every member will be drawn to serve the Lord more effectively every day, each in our own specific calling.


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