Monday, September 26, 2011

To Serve At The Altar of The Lord

On Saturday, September 24th, 2011, my fellow classmates and I were installed as Acolytes. It is a step in our formation for the Permanent Diaconate. The ceremony took place during the celebration of the Eucharist at the Bethany Chapel, in the Archdiocese of Boston’s Pastoral Center. The celebrant was Auxiliary Bishop Hennessy.  Our families and friends were present; I had the opportunity to present the Cup to my mother, so that she could receive the Blood of Christ. Overall, it was a very moving, and grace full day.

The following is a description of the office of Acolyte:

Unless they have already done so, candidates for ordination as deacons or priests are to receive the ministries of reader and acolyte and are to exercise them for a suitable time, in order to be better disposed for the future service of the word and altar.
The acolyte is appointed in order to aid the deacon and to minister to the priest. It is his duty therefore to attend to the service of the altar and to assist the deacon and priest in the liturgical celebrations, especially the celebration of Mass; he is to distribute communion as a special minister.

In the same extraordinary circumstances an acolyte may be entrusted with publicly exposing the Blessed Sacrament for adoration by the faithful and afterward replacing, but not with blessing the people. He may also, to the extent needed, take care of instructing other faithful who on a temporary basis are appointed to assist the priest of deacon in liturgical celebrations by carrying the missal, cross, candles, etc., or by performing other such duties. He will perform these functions more worthily if he participates in the Holy Eucharist with increasingly fervent devotion, receives nourishment from it, and deepens his knowledge of it.

As one set aside in a special way for the service of the altar, the acolyte should learn all matters concerning public divine worship and strive to grasp their inner spiritual meaning; in that way he will be able each day to offer himself entirely to God, be an example to all by his gravity and reverence in church, and have a sincere love for the mystical body of Christ, the people of God, especially for the weak and the sick.

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