By Jane Favotto
Four seminarians for the Diocese of Parramatta were instituted as acolytes during the celebration of Mass at Our Lady of the Angels Church, Rouse Hill, on 6 December 2015.
Parramatta’s Bishop Emeritus Kevin Manning instituted Shinto Francis, Joe Murphy, Jack Green and Chris del Rosario. The men are in formation for the priesthood at Holy Spirit Seminary. As each candidate’s name was called, they rose to indicate their willingness for ministry.
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In his homily, Bishop Manning said the young men offering themselves for the ministry of acolyte had a special role in the Church’s ministry.
“Since the Eucharist is the summit and source of the Church’s life, which builds up the Christian community and helps it grow, it will be your responsibility to assist priests and deacons in carrying out their ministry as special ministers to give Holy Communion to the faithful at the liturgy and to the sick.
“Because you are specially called to this ministry you must strive to live more fully by the Lord’s sacrifice and to be moulded more perfectly in its likeness.
“You must seek to understand the deep spiritual meaning of what you do, so that you may offer yourselves daily to God as spiritual sacrifices acceptable to Him through Jesus Christ.
“In performing your ministry, bear in mind that as you share the 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’.”
As with other liturgical ministries, the acolyte has a specific role, that is, to assist the priest or deacon in the service of the altar, preparing the altar and the sacred vessels.
Sacrosanctum Concilium states: “Those who serve at the altar exercise a genuine liturgical function. They ought to discharge their office therefore, with the sincere devotion and decorum demanded by so exalted a ministry and rightly expected of them by God’s people.
“Consequently, they must all be deeply imbued with the spirit of the liturgy, in the measure proper to each one, and they must be trained to perform their functions in a correct and orderly manner.” (Second Vatican Council, Sacrosanctum Concilium, 29)
Acolytes undergo specific training and formation. They should familiarise themselves “with everything which pertains to divine worship and should endeavour to understand its spirit and its inner meaning.” (Pope Paul VI, Ministeria Quaedam, 15 August 1972, #6)
The Mass was concelebrated by the seminary’s Rector, Very Rev John Hogan, Our Lady of the Angels’ Parish Priest, Rev Warren Edwards, and Assistant Priest Rev John Rizzo.
Read Bishop Emeritus Manning’s Homily here: Homily
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