Institution of Acolyte: “God of Mercy, through Your only Son You entrusted the Bread of Life to Your Church. Bless + our brothers who have been chosen for the ministry of acolyte. Grant that they may be faithful in the service of Your altar and in giving to others the bread of life; may they grow always in faith and love, and so build up Your Church.”
This past academic year eight of us brothers living at St. Joseph Interprovincial Friary in Chicago were installed as Acolytes by the Rev. William Spencer, OFM, Provincial Minister of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus Province. In the past, Acolyte was considered one of the four minor orders and generally conferred only on those preparing for ordination to the priesthood. As the General Instruction of the Roman Missal says, "The acolyte is instituted to serve at the altar and to assist the priest and deacon. In particular, it is his responsibility to prepare the altar and the sacred vessels and, if it is necessary, as an extraordinary minister, to distribute the Eucharist to the faithful. In the ministry of the altar, the acolyte has his own functions, which he must perform personally."
The term "instituted acolyte" is used in the General Instruction of the Roman Missal to distinguish those on whom the ministry has been conferred with the prescribed rite from others who, while sometimes called acolytes, could also be referred to as altar servers. While in the absence of an instituted acolyte an altar server (male or female) may perform most of an acolyte's functions, some are reserved for an instituted acolyte alone.
During his homily Fr. William encouraged us to not take the Eucharist for granted. As men who receive the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus Christ on a daily basis we can become complacent and take this privilege for granted. Instead we were encouraged to follow the example of St. Tarcisius, a martyr who lived in the Third Century and is the patron Saint of Acolytes, and bring the Eucharist to people, especially those who are on the margins and not as fortunate as us.
As many of you know, June 13th was the Feast of St. Anthony of Padua. Prior to entering the Order I was unaware of St. Anthony, except for being told he could help find something that was lost. For anyone who might not know, St. Anthony was born on Aug. 15, 1195, in Lisbon, Portugal, to a wealthy family. St. Anthony initially joined the Canons Regular (priests living in community under the Augustinian Rule) at the Abbey of St. Vincent. It was at this Abbey that he was first inspired by the Franciscan simple and evangelical way of life. When St. Anthony saw the first Franciscan martyrs being carried back to Assisi from Morocco, he asked for and received permission to leave the Canons Regular and join this new Franciscan way of life. As a Franciscan, St. Anthony was known for his powerful preaching and vast knowledge of Sacred Scripture. He was also able to teach sacred theology to the brothers without extinguishing the Spirit of prayer and devotion. St. Anthony became ill and died in 1231 in Padua at the age of 36. He was canonized less than a year after his death by Pope Gregory IX, a gesture that gave significant credibility to the young Franciscan Order.
After my year of Postulancy, I had a chance to travel to Italy with my family. While there we were able to do a day trip to Padua on June 13th and experience the Feast of St. Anthony. Mass was literally standing room only, and the air felt muggy from all of us standing shoulder to shoulder. As I stood and looked around I saw people from everywhere and every different stage of life: pilgrims on their knees; young couples with young children; professionals who had the day off from work; elderly couples with their children and grandchildren gathered around them. There was a procession after Mass with all of the medieval sights and sounds. I was deeply touched by how interwoven the festival was for all the people at the Basilica. Since this experience, and as a friar on the ordination path, I have found inspiration in St. Anthony’s preaching of the Gospels and authentic way of life, which I hope to have someday.
As always, please feel free to leave a comment!
From left to right: Nickolas Thorvaldsen from Cincinnati, OH who just graduated from the University of Cincinnati with a civil engineering degree; Zachary Siler of Chicago, IL who works at a Catholic Worker House and has studied music at the Conservatory of Music at Baldwin-Wallace in Berea, OH; and Jeremiah Sauber who has a degree in nuclear engineering and is presently working at the University of Idaho in Pocatello, ID.
These three men will form the Postulancy Class of 2013 for the Franciscan Provinc eof Saint John the Baptist. They will begin formation on Agust 30 in Cincinnati, OH
CPE Beginnings: This past week I began a program known as CPE. The acronym stands for Clinical Pastoral Education. It most often takes place in a hospital setting but not necessarily so. I myself applied to, was accepted and have now completed the introductory week of CPE at a hospital in Lexington, Ky., called St. Joseph Hospital.
St. Joseph was founded by Catholic religious sisters (Sisters of Charity of Nazareth, Ky.) quite a while ago and know belongs to an umbrella group called Catholic Healthcare Initiatives. It strives to provide all its patients with care that would give praise to God and ring in harmony with Gospel values and Catholic Social Teaching.
After one week around the large hospital I feel that hospital chaplaincy is a daunting and challenging task. The variety of ministerial opportunities that can be contained within one shift at such a hospital is amazing. Although I’m just beginning I have already learned a great deal.
I have yet to visit a single patient. But I plan to blog a little throughout the summer (observing all HIPAA laws accordingly) about my experiences. Stay tuned to see how life at the hospital unfolds.
I attended my 50th Reunion from graduating from high school this past weekend. It was GREA T fun. We gathered for a social Friday evening and then on Saturday for a Eucharist and meal. I had the honor of celebrating the Eucharist for my classmates which I consider a great privilege.My dear friends David and Charlene Glore served as cantors. David was a very good friend during our high school years.
You might recognize Secretary Ray Lahood in the foreground in the picture on the right. Ray is a classmate who has served in politics most of his life and is presently about to resign as the Secretary of Transportation for the present federal administration.
To get myself in the mood for the celebration I took advantage of having a trial subscription to Sirius Radio in my recently acquired used car and listened to the hits of the 50s and 60s while driving to Peoria. It brought back great memories.
All-in-all, the weekend was very enjoyable and I thank God for the opportunity to have been able to attend.