The Institution of AcolyteMay the peace of Christ be with you and yours.
Introduction to Holy Orders and InstitutionsMinistry means "service." The Church is the People of God (Dogmatic Constitution on the Church, II) who engage in a variety of ministries (Dogmatic Constitution on the Church, n. 18; Decree on Ecumenism, n. 2). All human beings, by Baptism, share in the ministry of Christ as prophet, priest, and king. "Everything which has been said so far concerning the People of God applies equally to the laity, religious, and clergy." (Dogmatic Constitution on the Church, nn. 30). We limit our conversation here to the first of two Institutions leading to the ministry of Orders. These two institutions are open to all Christians, not necessarily just those preparing for Orders. This second Institution is that of Acolyte.
The acolyte assists the deacon and priest during liturgical assemblies. The acolyte may also distribute holy communion as an auxiliary minister when situations demand. The acolyte may also instruct the faithful in the performance of liturgical functions as may be the case.
To explain these ministries, we offer you from The Roman Pontifical, the slight editions, the ordaining bishop's (or the major religious superior's) homily to and the Prayer and Institution of the candidate.
After the Liturgy of the Word:
CALLING OF THE CANDIDATE
Deacon or priest says:
The person to be instituted in the ministry of acolyte please come forward.
Dear child in Christ, as a person chosen for the ministry of acolyte, you will have a special role in the Church's ministry. The summit and source of the Church's life is the Eucharist, which builds up the Christian community and makes it grow. It is your responsibility to assist priests and deacons in carrying out their ministry, and as special ministers to give holy communion to the faithful at the liturgy and to the sick. Because you are specially called to this ministry, you should strive to live more fully by the Lord's sacrifice and to be molded more perfectly in its likeness. You should seek to understand the deep spiritual meaning of what you do, so that you may offer yourself daily to God as a spiritual sacrifice acceptable to him through Jesus Christ.
INVITATION TO PRAYER
Then all stand and the bishop, without miter, invites the people to prayer:
Brothers and sisters, let us ask God our Father to bless this servant who has been chosen for the ministry of acolyte. Let us ask him to fill this human being with his blessing and strengthen (him/her) for the faithful service of his Church.All pray in silence for a brief period
Then the bishop, with hands joined, continues
God of mercy, through your only Son you entrusted the bread of life to your Church.
Candidate goes to the bishop, who gives the candidate a vessel with the bread or wine to be consecrated, saying:
Take this vessel with bread (wine) for the celebration of the Eucharist. Make your life worthy of your service at the table of the Lord and of his Church.The reader responds
The Liturgy of the Eucharist continues...