Becoming an Acolyte


#1

I would like any information on being an acolyte; personal experiences, stories, etc., etc. I have an opportunity to be trained this September and become a permanent acolyte for our Cathedral. I am pretty sure I want to do this/ am being called to do it. I would like to hear some other’s experiences with this calling. Thanks for the input! :slight_smile:


#2

Popular thread… :frowning:


#3

I’m not sure what you mean by Acolyte. I thought the Minor Orders had been abolished by Pope Paul VI.


#4

Are you in the diocese of Lincoln, Nebraska? That was the only place I was aware of where the bishop would install permanent acolytes.


#5

[quote=Catholic2003]Are you in the diocese of Lincoln, Nebraska? That was the only place I was aware of where the bishop would install permanent acolytes.
[/quote]

Funny you should say that, our Bishop is from there- Bishop Robert Vasa. No, I am in the Baker diocese in Oregon. The Bishop has scheduled our training for September of this year. It will be myself and 3 other men.


#6

[quote=JB.]I’m not sure what you mean by Acolyte. I thought the Minor Orders had been abolished by Pope Paul VI.
[/quote]

Evidently not.


#7

[quote=St.Eric]Funny you should say that, our Bishop is from there- Bishop Robert Vasa. No, I am in the Baker diocese in Oregon. The Bishop has scheduled our training for September of this year. It will be myself and 4 3 other men.
[/quote]

Thanks for the info!

Does your bishop install permanent lectors as well?


#8

[quote=Catholic2003]Thanks for the info!

Does your bishop install permanent lectors as well?
[/quote]

I don’t know. What are you really getting at? Please let me in on the info. I am being completely serious. Am I missing something? Granted, I don’t know it all! :slight_smile:


#9

[quote=St.Eric]I don’t know. What are you really getting at? Please let me in on the info. I am being completely serious. Am I missing something? Granted, I don’t know it all! :slight_smile:
[/quote]

The Minor Orders, given to men prior to ordination as Priests in the Latin Rite included Porter, Lector, Exorcist and Acolyte. After this were Subdeacon, Deacon and Priest. As I said before, I had thought that the Minor Orders, plus the Major Order of Subdeacon, had been abolished, but apparently this is not true in all Dioceses.

The Prior poster was asking if your Bishop also installs men as Permanent Lectors as well as Permanent Acolytes. I must admit, my curiousity is piqued as well.


#10

Let me offer some answers to some of the questions here.

First, the Latin Church did abolish the minor orders and the major order of subdeacon. However, Pope Paul VI created to “ministries” – acolyte and lector – which have a corespondence to the old minor orders of the same names. These ministries are reserved to men, and the bishop may permanently install men into these ministries after suitable formation. All who seek ordination must have served in these ministries “for a suitable time.” (I spent six months as an acolyte and, before that, six months as a lector).

Since these are “stable” ministries (meaning that they do not cease and that one need not progress to another ministry) it is possible for the bishop to install (rather than the older term of “ordain”) men to hold these positions.

As for stories – I actually don’t have any that are pertinent since, in point of fact, I was destined for the diaconate.

Deacon Ed


#11

Well then, the question remains, can acolytes be ordained throughout the Catholic church? How does one go about becoming one? And what are acolytes supposed to wear? Can they wear the traditional cassock and surplice, or must they wear the one for ministerial garment, the alb…

Stephen


#12

I found what I was looking for, Ministeria Quaedam. This answers some of the questions. Thank you, Deacon Ed, for providing other answers.


#13

[quote=slewi]Well then, the question remains, can acolytes be ordained throughout the Catholic church? …
[/quote]

Ordained, no. Appointed or Installed, apparently yes.


#14

"Yes, thanks Deacon Ed, the answers were very helpful! I appreciate it. Perhaps you can give me your speculation on this: I have been told that our Bishop is not a “big fan” of having deacons but very much likes the idea of having acolytes. Obviously you can’t speak for my bishop but maybe you have some ideas. Thanks.


#15

I am pleased to hear that Bishop Vasa is planning to institute acolytes.

I see it as unfortunate that both instituted acolytes and instituted lectors have been given little support or encouragement, at least in my experience.

In discerning whether to become an instituted acolyte, here are things to consider:

Are you a suitable person for leadership in the Church?

For example according to Sunday Celebrations in the Absence of a Priest: “30. In the absence of both a priest and a deacon, the pastor is to appoint laypersons, who are to be entrusted with the care of these celebrations, namely, with leading the prayers, with the ministry of the word, and with giving holy communion.
Those to be chosen first by the pastor are readers and acolytes who have been duly instituted for the service of the altar and of the word of God. If there are no such instituted ministers available, other laypersons, both men and women, may be appointed.”

Another example, from the Book of Blessings, 18d: “An acolyte or a reader who by formal institution has this special office in the Church is rightly preferred over another layperson as the minister designated at the discretion of the local Ordinary to impart certain blessings.”

Do you have the time and commitment for the duties? Particularly from Pope Paul VI’s Motu proprio of 15 August 1972 “Ministeria Quaedam”:
– “learn all matters concerning public divine worship”
– Instructing altar servers “to the extent needed”.

Do you oppose the ministry yourself? Some seem to think only priests should distribute Holy Communion. Others that women should have as much opportunity for lay ministry as men. Others that altar servers should be children (e.g. boys who may be encouraged in a vocation to the priesthood). Others that the ministry should be a step to the diaconate or priesthood.

How would you handle the opposition that could arise from these opinions?
What would happen if you moved to another diocese?
Can you do this permanently, for the rest of your life? (The Catechism of Catholic Church, n. 903 has “Lay people who possess the required qualities can be admitted permanently to the ministries of lector and acolyte”).

I have written more about instituted lectors (with some of my experience as one) at romanrite.com/Lectors.html


#16

[quote=John Lilburne]I am pleased to hear that Bishop Vasa is planning to institute acolytes.

I see it as unfortunate that both instituted acolytes and instituted lectors have been given little support or encouragement, at least in my experience.

In discerning whether to become an instituted acolyte, here are things to consider:

Are you a suitable person for leadership in the Church?

For example according to Sunday Celebrations in the Absence of a Priest: “30. In the absence of both a priest and a deacon, the pastor is to appoint laypersons, who are to be entrusted with the care of these celebrations, namely, with leading the prayers, with the ministry of the word, and with giving holy communion.
Those to be chosen first by the pastor are readers and acolytes who have been duly instituted for the service of the altar and of the word of God. If there are no such instituted ministers available, other laypersons, both men and women, may be appointed.”

Another example, from the Book of Blessings, 18d: “An acolyte or a reader who by formal institution has this special office in the Church is rightly preferred over another layperson as the minister designated at the discretion of the local Ordinary to impart certain blessings.”

Do you have the time and commitment for the duties? Particularly from Pope Paul VI’s Motu proprio of 15 August 1972 “Ministeria Quaedam”:
– “learn all matters concerning public divine worship”
– Instructing altar servers “to the extent needed”.

Do you oppose the ministry yourself? Some seem to think only priests should distribute Holy Communion. Others that women should have as much opportunity for lay ministry as men. Others that altar servers should be children (e.g. boys who may be encouraged in a vocation to the priesthood). Others that the ministry should be a step to the diaconate or priesthood.

How would you handle the opposition that could arise from these opinions?
What would happen if you moved to another diocese?
Can you do this permanently, for the rest of your life? (The Catechism of Catholic Church, n. 903 has “Lay people who possess the required qualities can be admitted permanently to the ministries of lector and acolyte”).

I have written more about instituted lectors (with some of my experience as one) at romanrite.com/Lectors.html
[/quote]

thanks for the post. The info is great and I will check out your website. Thanks again.


#17

Forgive my ignorance but exactly what is an “Acolyte”? How does one become one? Why does one become one? If my parish were to have one, what duties would he perform? How would those duties differ from what a Deacon performs? Are there things that a Deacon can do that an Acolyte can not? Etc.?


#18

[quote=St.Eric]"Yes, thanks Deacon Ed, the answers were very helpful! I appreciate it. Perhaps you can give me your speculation on this: I have been told that our Bishop is not a “big fan” of having deacons but very much likes the idea of having acolytes. Obviously you can’t speak for my bishop but maybe you have some ideas. Thanks.
[/quote]

Since I do not know your bishop I certainly cannot provide any insight into why he is not a “big fan” of deacons. I think it would also be wrong for me to speculate on his position one way or another.

Deacon Ed


#19

[quote=Sir Knight]Forgive my ignorance but exactly what is an “Acolyte”? How does one become one? Why does one become one? If my parish were to have one, what duties would he perform? How would those duties differ from what a Deacon performs? Are there things that a Deacon can do that an Acolyte can not? Etc.?
[/quote]

An acolyte is like an altar server.


#20

[quote=Sir Knight]Forgive my ignorance but exactly what is an “Acolyte”? How does one become one? Why does one become one? If my parish were to have one, what duties would he perform? How would those duties differ from what a Deacon performs? Are there things that a Deacon can do that an Acolyte can not? Etc.?
[/quote]

Click on the link at the bottom of post #15. That link spells it out pretty well.


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