Bishop Vincent’s first Acolytes

By Jordan Grantham, 27 July 2017
Bishop Vincent Long Van Nguyen OFM Conv. Image: Diocese of Parramatta.

Bishop Vincent instituted more than 40 men into the ministry of acolyte on 13 June 2017

Most Rev Vincent Long OFM Conv, Bishop of Parramatta, instituted more than 40 men into the ministry of acolyte on 13 June 2017 at St Patrick’s Cathedral, Parramatta. This was his first institution of acolytes in the Diocese of Parramatta.

“They are to manifest the love and presence of God to their brothers and sisters in a particular way befitting their intimacy with Christ’s body and blood, which they serve at the altar,” Bishop Vincent said.

Related coverage: Bishop Vincent Long’s homily from the 2017 Institution of Acolytes

Acolyte is a role of service at the altar and dates back to the early Church. Being an Acolyte is a ministry, which was previously part of the minor orders of the priesthood. Priests and deacons become transitional acolytes on their way to ordination.

Related coverage: Click here to find out more about the ministry of Acolyte.

Related coverage: Sign up to become an Acolyte in 2018!

Acolytes are allowed to purify the sacred vessels in Mass. They provide liturgical support for the priest and often have in depth knowledge of the lectionary and missal. Acolytes prepare for Mass, prompt and direct the more junior altar servers, and help people during the offertory procession.

Acolytes typically wear what servers wear, such as an alb and cincture. There is a tradition of having tunicled acolytes in Spain and the Philippines.

Acolytes wearing tunicles at the Holy Week processions in Granada, Spain. Image: Wikimedia Commons.

“It’s a role of service,” Sr Mary Louise Walsh, Liturgy Educator of the Office for Worship, said.

“Younger acolytes are needed in a number of parishes,” she said.

More acolytes are needed to support and replace sometimes-elderly acolytes in the Diocese of Parramatta.

“Take this vessel with bread (wine) for the celebration of the Eucharist. Make your life worthy of your service at the table of the Lord and of his Church.”

The ministry of acolyte is a wonderful privilege and the ritual of the institution is similar to the sacraments. During the Mass, candidates are called by name and there is an invocation of the Holy Spirit. The Bishop then holds one side of a communion dish or plate and the candidate holds the other side of the vessel, while the Bishop says:

“Take this vessel with bread (wine) for the celebration of the Eucharist. Make your life worthy of your service at the table of the Lord and of his Church.”

After the Second Vatican Council, Pope Paul VI issued the motu proprio Ministeria Quaedam (1972) by which the minor orders, tonsure, and subdiaconate were suppressed in the Latin Rite of the Catholic Church.

These changes opened the role of acolyte to laymen, not just clerics, Sr Mary Louise said.

Acolytes need to be practicing Catholics above 18 years of age and complete the formation at the Institute for Mission, which takes place over eight Monday nights.

Related coverage: Click here to find out more about the ministry of Acolyte.

Related coverage: Sign up to become an Acolyte in 2018!

 

RELATED STORIES

Follow

Follow this blog

Get a daily email of all new posts.

Email address

First Name (*)

Last Name (*)