Sixteen Friars Installed as Acolytes

January 14, 2012

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On Saturday, January 14, Fr. Brian Martin Mulcahy, OP, prior provincial of the Province of St. Joseph, conferred the ministry of acolyte upon sixteen student brothers during the conventual Mass at the Dominican House of Studies in Washington, D.C.

The ministry of acolyte, formally one of the minor orders a candidate would receive before his priestly ordination, confers upon the man who receives it the task to assist at the altar during liturgical celebrations. Entrusted to an acolyte are the duties of bearing candles, handling and cleansing sacred vessels and serving as an auxiliary Eucharistic minister.

In his homily, Fr. Mulcahy illustrated how providentially the readings of the day applied to the conferral of the ministry of acolyte. In the reading from the Gospel of St. Mark, Jesus calls Levi by saying to him, “akoloúthei moi.” This Greek phrase, akoloúthei moi, means, “follow me” and tells us something fundamental about what it means to be an acolyte. “To be installed in the Ministry of Acolyte, and to serve as an acolyte, in its primarily liturgical context, means that he is to be the follower of, the companion of, the assistant to…the celebrant, the priest, to the one who stands, in the liturgical assembly, in the place of the Bridegroom, who is Christ.”
Bro. Dennis Klein OP of Holy Name Province (Western)
In a liturgical setting the priest stands in place of the bridegroom, and as Fr. Mulcahy said, “in a very real sense, to be an acolyte is to become a member of the Bridegroom’s party, to be a groom’s attendant.” An attendant worthy of the name works inconspicuously, so as to draw no attention to himself. He occupies himself with the needs of the bridegroom.

The Church prescribes that all men seeking priestly ordination must receive the ministry of acolyte, along with that of lector, before the conferral of Holy Orders. All sixteen student brothers installed as acolytes Saturday morning are currently in formation preparing for priestly ordination.

+ see also: Province of the Holy Name of Jesus (Western Dominican Province)

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