Girm 2002

Quote: C. THE DUTIES OF THE ACOLYTE

  1. The duties that the acolyte may carry out are of various kinds and several may coincide. Hence, it is desirable that these duties be suitably distributed among several acolytes. If, however, only one acolyte is present, he should perform the more important duties while the rest are to be distributed among several ministers.

The Introductory Rites

  1. In the procession to the altar, the acolyte may carry the cross, walking between two ministers with lighted candles. Upon reaching the altar, the acolyte places the cross upright near the altar so that it may serve as the altar cross; otherwise, he puts it in a worthy place. Then he takes his place in the sanctuary.

  2. Through the entire celebration, the acolyte is to approach the priest or the deacon, whenever necessary, in order to present the book to them and to assist them in any other way required. Thus it is appropriate, insofar as possible, that the acolyte occupy a place from which he can conveniently carry out his ministry either at the chair or at the altar.

The Liturgy of the Eucharist

  1. If no deacon is present, after the Prayer of the Faithful is concluded and while the priest remains at the chair, the acolyte places the corporal, the purificator, the chalice, the pall, and the Missal on the altar. Then, if necessary, the acolyte assists the priest in receiving the gifts of the people and, if appropriate, brings the bread and wine to the altar and hands them to the priest. If incense is used, the acolyte presents the thurible to the priest and assists him while he incenses the gifts, the cross, and the altar. Then the acolyte incenses the priest and the people.

  2. Likewise, when the distribution of Communion is completed, a duly instituted acolyte helps the priest or deacon to purify and arrange the sacred vessels. When no deacon is present, a duly instituted acolyte carries the sacred vessels to the credence table and there purifies, wipes, and arranges them in the usual way."

Are not Acolytes altar servers. If so.
Quote : " If, however, only one acolyte is present, he should perform the more important duties while the rest are to be distributed among several ministers"
I see “He” not “She”

Also
Quote " 191. A duly instituted acolyte, as an extraordinary minister, may, if necessary, assist the priest in giving Communion to the people.100 If Communion is given under both kinds, when no deacon is present, the acolyte administers the chalice to the communicants or holds the chalice if Communion is given by intinction."

So shouldn’t the altar servers (male) be assisting in distributing communion and not the laity in the pews?.

Definition of acolyte from New Advent
“An acolyte is a cleric promoted to the fourth and highest minor order in the Latin Church, ranking next to a subdeacon. The chief offices of an acolyte are to light the candles on the altar, to carry them in procession, and during the solemn singing of the Gospel; to prepare wine and water for the sacrifice of the Mass; and to assist the sacred ministers at the Mass, and other public services of the Church. In the ordination of an acolyte the bishop presents him with a candle, extinguished, and an empty cruet, using appropriate words expressive of these duties. Altar boys are often designated as acolytes and perform the duties of such. The duties of the acolyte in Catholic liturgical services are fully described in the manuals of liturgy, e.g. Pio Matinucci, “Manuale Sacrarum Caeremoniarum” (Rome, 1880), VI, 625; and De Herdt, “Sacrae Liturgiae Praxis” (Louvain, 1889), II, 28-39.”

Quote: “Altar boys are often designated as acolytes and perform the duties of such.”
Not altar girls or the laity in the pews.

Am I reading this correctly?.

I don’t know but I have a hard time reading it as your comments are well hidden in among the GIRM instructions. Could you not have highlighted/underlined your comments/questions so we can easily see them?

Quote: " When the size of the congregation or the incapacity of the bishop, priest, or deacon requires it, the celebrant may be assisted by other bishops, priests, or deacons. If such ordinary ministers of Holy Communion are not present, “the priest may call upon extraordinary ministers to assist him, i.e., duly instituted acolytes or even other faithful who have been deputed for this purpose. In case of necessity, the priest may also depute suitable faithful for this single occasion (GIRM 162).”

Quote: " duly instituted acolytes or even other faithful who have been deputed for this purpose. In case of necessity, the priest may also depute suitable faithful for this single occasion (GIRM 162)."

So does this mean other faithful take presedence over acolytes (male altar servers).

Quote: “In case of necessity, the priest may also depute suitable faithful for this single occasion (GIRM 162).”

Does this mean a “single” occasion or every Sunday and Holy Day of the year?.

I think you are a little confused on this point. Although altar servers perform the functions of acolytes, they are not acolytes. Acolytes, by the definition you provided, are ordained as such, whereas altar boys are not ordained. In essence, altar boys are no different than the laity in the pew, they just perform an acolyte’s functions.

So the short answer to your question is NO. An acolyte is preferred over a deputized member of the laity (an extraordinary minister).

male altar servers (altar boys) are those “other faithful” referred-to in the GIRM

When the GIRM says Acolyte, the GIRM means “duly instituted Acolyte”

Only if a duly instituted Acolyte is unavailable can a layperson be appointed to perform the functions of an Acolyte (not to be an Acolyte, but to perform the functions of one). In other words, anyone who has not been installed as a duly Instituted Acolyte according to the specific liturgical rite is not an “acolyte” but an “one who functions as a substitute acolyte” although that distinction is not always made in our everyday vocabulary.

Quote: “In case of necessity, the priest may also depute suitable faithful for this single occasion (GIRM 162).”

Does this mean a “single” occasion or every Sunday and Holy Day of the year?.

It means “in case of necessity” regardless of the day itself.

What it actually means is that priests cannot appoint extraordinary ministers for anything more than a single occasion. A priest can appoint someone for “right here and right now” but cannot appoint someone for “the next 12 months” or “forever” or anytime in the future, or to function at a Mass celebrated by a different priest.

I hope that helps.

The two terms are not interchangeable. An acolyte is a male who has been instituted by the Bishop as an acolyte. The term “altar server” is usually used for those men and women who take the place of an acolyte, per GIRM 100: “In the absence of an instituted acolyte, lay ministers may be deputed…”

An acolyte is preferred to any other extraordinary minister of Holy Communion.

Altar boys are often designated as acolytes and perform the duties of such.
So since most NO Masses have “altar boys” and they are “preferred”, then why is there an over abundance of EMHCs.

It means “in case of necessity” regardless of the day itself

So why the word “Single Occasion”. I would take that as a day when no altar boys can be present for some unknown reason, weather, sickness, etc.

Quote: An acolyte is preferred to any other extraordinary minister of Holy Communion.

So why are no altar boys being designated as acolytes. When I was an altar boy, back in the early seventies. We lit the candles, filled the hosts, prepared the chalice. Basically got everything prepared for the Mass for the priest. I don’t see that happening any more, in the NO Mass. Why?

Quote: men and women

Where does it say men and women in the GIRM. I see He not She. Are male acolytes even being instituted in the NO Mass. Or have the laity ( not altar boys) taken over every function. Altar boys don’t even do half what they did in the early days, when I was one.

That quote comes from an older document, which you quoted earlier:
An acolyte is a cleric promoted to the fourth and highest minor order in the Latin Church, ranking next to a subdeacon. The chief offices of an acolyte are to light the candles on the altar, to carry them in procession, and during the solemn singing of the Gospel; to prepare wine and water for the sacrifice of the Mass; and to assist the sacred ministers at the Mass, and other public services of the Church. In the ordination of an acolyte the bishop presents him with a candle, extinguished, and an empty cruet, using appropriate words expressive of these duties. Altar boys are often designated as acolytes and perform the duties of such. The duties of the acolyte in Catholic liturgical services are fully described in the manuals of liturgy, e.g. Pio Matinucci, “Manuale Sacrarum Caeremoniarum” (Rome, 1880), VI, 625; and De Herdt, “Sacrae Liturgiae Praxis” (Louvain, 1889), II, 28-39.
It is not applicable to the Ordinary Form of the Roman Rite which has differing liturgical prescriptions.

Acolytes are preferred over other EMHCs. Altar servers are not acolytes. They carry out some of the functions of the acolyte, but to distribute Holy Communion requires a special deputation which is not necessary for the other services an acolyte provides. The document you quoted is from a time when no acolyte ever administered Holy Communion; only priests (and sometimes deacons) would do so.

There’s probably nothing preventing a priest from deputizing his altar boys (or even girls) as EMHCs. But only males can be acolytes, who are de facto EMHCs who are, as we’ve said, preferred over any other EMHC.

So what you are basically saying is that an EMHC is much more “Holy”, than an Altar Boy. I find that insulting to say the least. Altar boys can be trained to distribute Holy Communion, and prepare the altar. They are “Altar” boys.

Could you describe what you mean by “filled the hosts” and “prepared the chalice”? Altar servers usually do these things, unless I misunderstand your terms.

Anyway, only a bishop can institute a man as an acolyte, and rarely is that done outside of the diaconate process.

The GIRM is not the only document to look at.
From the point of view of liturgical law, an official interpretation of Canon 230, Paragraph 2, of the Code of Canon law on the possibility of delegating certain liturgical offices led to a 1994 letter from the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Sacraments clarifying that girls may serve at the altar. But bishops are not bound to permit them to do so, nor could the episcopal conference limit the bishop’s faculty to decide for himself. (source)

Acolytes are still members of the laity. But as I said above, they are not instituted very often outside of the diaconate process. I’m sorry that altar servers are having less and less to do; that’s not very fair to them and it’s certainly not what is expected of them, liturgically speaking.

Excuse me, bkovacs, but I said nothing of the sort.

The Church’s liturgical discipline is that an acolyte is a very specific person. An acolyte must be a male, he must be instituted to the office of acolyte by a bishop, and he is a de facto extraordinary minister of Holy Communion. He may even perform the purification of the sacred vessels, which no other EMHC may perform.

“Altar boy” is not another term for “acolyte”, not vice versa.

Certainly an altar server (male or female) could be trained to distribute Holy Communion, but that would just make them another EMHC, not an acolyte.

Agreed, at least in the NO. There a several EF groups that still observe these Minor Orders:

• Canons Regular of the New Jerusalem
• Institute of St. Philipp Neri
• Fraternity of St. Peter
• Apostolic Administration of St Jean-Marie Vianney, Brazil
• Le Barroux
• Servants Minor of St Francis
• Clearcreek Monastery
• Religious Institute of the Holy Cross of Riaumont
• Canons Regular of the Mother of God French ]
• Canons Regular of the Mother of God [English]
• Abbaye Fontgombault
• Institute of Christ the King
• Fraternity of St. Vincent Ferrer
• Opus Mariae Mediatricis
• Oblates of Mary

But your point is taken.

First of all, I was an “Altar Boy”, not the politically correct term “Altar Server”. I do not recognise “altar girls” or the need to have them, just to be politically correct as modern day Roman Catholicism tries to be. The Eastern Orthodox Churches do not have them. for the same reasons. traditional Roman Catholics share. They can go work in a convent, if they want to do something spiritually. As an Altar Boy, in the early seventies. The three of us, most of the time, came to church, put on our red and white vestments, not the pagan looking vestments they have in the NO Mass today, lit the Candles on the High Altar, prepared the incense , made sure we had plenty of hosts, filled the water and wine. We also assisted the priest and deacon by holding the pattens during communion. We led the procession by carrying the cross, held the sacramentary and lectionary in front of the priest etc… Also “rang the bells” which I hardly ever hear any more at a NO Mass.

Just because an altar boy in the NO is an altar boy, it doesn’t make him automatically an acolyte. He must be “duly instituted” first. There is a form for this. What I said was that he*** performs the duties*** of the acolyte. Thus, not being an acolyte, and usually younger in age than most of the faithful, EMCH’s are used first.

I am not saying I agree with this, just that that is how it usually goes. And the overabundance of EMHC’s is a whole new can of worms. I attend the EF where there are none… enough said.

You “do not recognize” them? What do that mean, you treat them as lower-class people, as mangy dogs to be scorned?

I don’t think opening up ministry at the altar to girls was a prudent decision, but I accept that the Church has officially permitted it, and I don’t denigrate or look down upon girls who serve at the altar. And it is silliness to call an altar girl an “altar boy” (since “boy” and “boys” are not inclusive as “man” and “men” are) so it makes sense to call them “altar girls” or, collectively with the altar boys, “altar servers”.

The Ordinary Form of the Roman Rite does not require what you call “pagan looking vestments”. I will not deny that you rarely find a boy serving the altar in the Ordinary Form wearing a cassock and surplice, but it is still done; stop making false dichotomies. And what exactly is pagan about the albs and cinctures worn by the others who serve the altar?

I would expect that happens in many parishes. I did it as a boy at the parish I grew up at, 20 years ago.

I heard it every week at my previous parish, and I heard it this past Sunday at (what might be) my new parish. I’m sorry you don’t hear them.

The Altar Boy’s function is to serve the priest and through him, God Himself. There is no function to which he might ever aspire, except the Priesthood itself, which will bring him to a more lofty service. The Altar Boy represents the multitude of the Faithful who assist at Holy Mass, responding for them, praying for them and, through his ringing of the bells, ensuring that all present are attentive at the most important moments. No layman, regardless of age, can be closer to God than within the Sanctuary during the Holy Sacrifice. He who serves the Mass also kneels, quite truly, beside Saint Mary Magdalen, Saint John, and the Blessed Virgin Mary at the foot of the Cross.

Girls can’t be priests!.

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