Archbishop Samuel Aquila celebrated Mass on Saturday, October 22nd, 2016, for the installation of one man to the ministry of Acolyte, and nine men to the ministry of Lector. The ministries of Lector and Acolyte are considered important milestones of a seminarian’s journey to Holy Orders.
Paul Lin Tut, a seminarian studying for the Archdiocese of Yangon in Myanmar, was installed as an Acolyte.
Zachary Boazman, Archdiocese of Oklahoma City
Adam Bradshaw, Archdiocese of Denver, CO
Christopher Considine, Archdiocese of Denver, CO
Christopher Gossen, Diocese of Phoenix, AZ
Juan Hernandez-Dominguez, Archdiocese of Denver, CO
Alexander Kroll, Archdiocese of Oklahoma City
Dylan Ostdiek, Diocese of Cheyenne, WY
Nathan Scheidecker, Diocese of Helena, MT
Estevan Wetzel, Diocese of Phoenix, AZ
Many may wonder what it means for a seminarian to become an Acolyte or Lector. They may inquire as to what these Catholic terms even mean in the first place.
To provide a satisfactory answer, one must look to an Apostolic Letter titled Ministeria Quaedam that was written by Pope Paul VI on January 1st, 1973. In this letter, Pope Paul VI reviews and elucidates these particular ministries of Lector and Acolyte. Referring to Acolyte first, the Holy Father emphasizes that the Acolyte is appointed in order to aid the deacon and to minister to the priest, assisting with liturgical celebrations, especially in the celebration of Mass, and to be available to distribute communion. Also, under abnormal or extraordinary circumstances, he may be permitted to expose the blessed sacrament for adoration by the faithful, as well as to be entrusted with instructing the members of the faithful that are involved with assisting in liturgical celebrations. As it says in section 6 of the letter:
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.
The Lector, also commonly called the reader, is appointed in order to read the word of God in the liturgical assembly. He is in charge of proclaiming the readings from Sacred Scripture (excluding the Gospel), reciting the psalm if there is no psalmist, presenting the intentions in the absence of a deacon or cantor, directing the singing and participation of the faithful, and instructing the faithful for the worthy reception of the sacraments. He must also be willing to prepare the lay faithful for reading the Scriptures at liturgical celebrations if they are temporarily appointed to do so. The Lector is to meditate assiduously on sacred Scripture so that he may more fittingly and perfectly fulfill these functions (5).
Estevan Wetzel, one of nine newly installed Lectors, described his emotions following this important next step in his journey of becoming a priest by saying,
Being installed a Lector [tonight] is a tremendous grace because it configures me more deeply to the Word of God. It has spurred me on to reverence the Sacred Scripture with a greater love and allows me to ensure its prime place in my daily prayer.
Please continue to pray for these men at Saint John Vianney Theological Seminary along with their brother seminarians throughout each stage of priestly formation. Please visit the Meet Our Seminarians page on our website to view all the seminarians that are currently studying at SJV in order to become ordained priests for their respective dioceses around the world.