Diocesan Seminarians Installed as Lectors and Acolytes
Five seminarians from the Diocese of Birmingham were among those installed as lectors or acolytes at the Pontifical College Josephinum on Dec. 8, the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception. Bishop Jeffrey J. Walsh, Bishop of Gaylord, was the principal celebrant of the Mass held in St. Turibius Chapel. Collins Hess, John Stepnowski, and Andrew Vickery were installed as lectors and Patrick DePew and Max Gallegos were installed as acolytes.
Once termed minor orders, the ministries of lector and acolyte were established by Pope Paul VI in 1973 with the apostolic letter Ministeria Quaedam. Lectors are commissioned to proclaim the Word of God in the liturgical assembly and to instruct children and adults in the faith to prepare them to receive the sacraments. Acolytes are entrusted with attending to the altar, assisting the deacon and priest at Mass, and distributing Holy Communion during the liturgy and to the sick.
In the rite, each candidate is handed a symbol of the ministry to which he is being instituted. Lectors receive a Book of the Gospels, and acolytes are presented with a chalice, as the bishop encourages the men to fulfill the ministry faithfully.
Institution to these ministries are pivotal steps on the journey toward priesthood. Typically, seminarians are instituted as lectors in their first year of theological studies and as acolytes the following year.