Christian Hamrick, a seminarian for the Diocese of Nashville studying at the Pontifical North American College in Rome, received the ministry of acolyte during a Mass in the college’s Chapel of the Immaculate Conception on March 5 celebrated by Archbishop Shelton J. Fabre of Louisville.
In January, Reed Robinson, another seminarian for the diocese studying at the North American College, was installed in the ministry of lector.
“The ministry of an acolyte has a special connection to the altar and to the Eucharist,” Archbishop Fabre told the 19 seminarians installed in the ministry of acolyte. “It is the duty of the acolyte to assist in serving the altar during liturgical celebrations and to attend to the Eucharist in certain functions and capacities. This is certainly an important ministry since it involves service to some of the most important elements of our Catholic faith, if not the most central element.”
Archbishop Fabre encouraged those preparing to be installed in the Ministry of Acolyte to “draw so close to Jesus in your relationship with Him that, in all you do, you reveal His glory. Nothing is more important than this mission rooted in the Lord. Nothing will bear more fruit in your ministry than this relationship with Jesus Christ, to which your worthy ministry as an acolyte testifies. May your lives be so transfigured that every word and every action will draw others to encounter Jesus Christ through you and your ministry.”
Cardinal Arthur Roche, prefect of the Dicastery for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, conferred the Ministry of Lector on 25 seminarians in the college’s Chapel of the Immaculate Conception on Jan. 15.
As part of the rite, Cardinal Roche placed the Holy Scriptures in the hands of each candidate and said, “Take this book of holy Scripture and be faithful in handing on the word of God, so that it may grow strong in the hearts of his people.”
The new lectors’ path is one of daily conversion, insisted Cardinal Roche, “Each day you will have a deeper love of the Scriptures so that, in all you say and do, show forth to the world our savior Jesus Christ.”
The seminarians installed in the ministry of acolyte, currently in their second year of formation at the college, have two additional years of theological studies before being ordained to the priesthood in their home dioceses.
The seminarians installed in the ministry of lector, currently in their first year of theological formation for the priesthood, will have three additional years of theological, spiritual, and pastoral formation before being ordained to the priesthood in their home dioceses.
The Pontifical North American College serves as the American seminary in Rome. Founded in 1859 by Blessed Pius IX, the college has formed more than 5,000 priests near the heart of the Church for service in dioceses around the United States and Australia. The College strengthens the bonds between Rome and local Churches worldwide, and it allows its students a first-hand encounter of the Church’s rich religious and cultural heritage.