The Diocese of Parramatta’s newest acolytes have been reminded that as well as serving the altar, they are to be of service to God’s people and to Christ.
On Saturday 30 October, seminarians Tom Green and David Sebastian from the Diocese’s Holy Spirit Seminary, Harris Park, were instituted to the ministry of acolyte by Bishop Vincent Long OFM Conv, Bishop of Parramatta, during the Vigil Mass at St Joseph’s Parish, Kingswood.
Tom and David were welcomed into their new ministry alongside family and friends, their brother seminarians from Parramatta and neighbouring dioceses, and by supportive parishioners.
“The long wait for you is over,” Parish Priest Fr Andrew Fornal OP told the young men, referencing the fact that the seminarians were meant to be instituted in June, but it was postponed due to the Greater Sydney lockdown.
Bishop Vincent explained that as acolytes, Tom and David put themselves at the service of the community – not just ministering around the altar, but also enacting neighbourly love by going out to the sick and the vulnerable.
“This step is a further commitment to self-sacrifice, humble service and servant leadership, which is at the core of the priesthood,” Bishop Vincent said during his homily.
“[The priesthood] is to follow the example of Christ, who came not to be served, but to serve and to give His life for others. This step is yet another intensification of that discipleship of love and service of the kingdom.
“Let us ask God to fill them with His blessing and strengthen them both for faithful service in His Church.”
In reflecting on his new ministry, David highlighted that the core of his new ministry is service – service to the altar and the community.
“These two things, I believe, are interconnected, because this should be the natural result of my interior life,” he told Catholic Outlook. “I have received this great gift not for myself, but for others.
For Tom, undertaking this new step towards Holy Orders has renewed his determination to be faithful to Christ.
“The ability to serve Christ on the altar is part of what inspired my vocation, and so I am very much looking forward to be doing that on a regular basis,” he said.
Both men wished to thank Bishop Vincent, the faculty and staff of the Holy Spirit Seminary and their families, friends, and brother seminarians for their support on their journey so far.
In his message to Tom and David, Fr Andrew said, “I wish that you grow in the service and the knowledge of the Lord and be transformed by the power of the Holy Spirit, that you may be truly His disciples.”
After being instituted as acolytes, Tom and David will, in time, be ordained to the diaconate, ahead of their anticipated ordination to the priesthood.
Both men are currently ministering at the Seminary as well as its neighbouring parish of St Oliver Plunkett Parish, Harris Park.
We pray for both Tom and David in their new ministry, for all seminarians currently in formation in the diocese and for the grace and gift of more vocations to the Church.
View images from Tom and David’s institution to the ministry of acolyte here or below.