Seminarians Receive Ministry of Acolyte
On March 5, Archbishop Shelton J. Fabre, Archbishop of Louisville, conferred the Ministry of Acolyte in the Chapel of the Immaculate Conception at the Pontifical North American College, Vatican City State, on 19 students, including Maxwell Vetch of the Diocese of Rapid City.
In his homily, on the Second Sunday of Lent when the Installation of Ministry Acolytes would take place, Archbishop Fabre preached on the Gospel passage of Matthew 17:1-9, the transfiguration. Archbishop Fabre said, “Jesus definitively reveals his glory to them (the disciples), allows them to hear the father’s voice affirming his son, and even shows Moses and Elijah to reveal that Jesus is the fulfillment of all the law and the prophets. In witnessing such an incredible event, the hearts of these three apostles are changed and renewed. You could even say that their own hearts were transfigured in a way. Simply being in the presence of God leaves an impact on those open to receiving that presence.”
He reminded all who were in attendance of the importance of the effects of the real presence of Jesus Christ in the holy Eucharist and how we are transformed by the real presence. “This effect of being in the presence of the Lord serves as an important reminder and encouragement for all of us, but especially to you who are to be instituted as acolytes today. Whenever we place ourselves in the presence of the divine, it has an impact on us. Like Peter, James, and John, whose hearts were strengthened and transfigured on that day by being in Jesus’ divine presence, so are our hearts renewed and transfigured whenever we open ourselves to the reality of God’s presence with us. Jesus is certainly present to us in many ways, as the Catechism tells us, but it goes on to say that “He is present … most especially in the Eucharistic species. It is critically important that we place ourselves in the presence of the most holy Eucharist, Jesus’ Real Presence with us.”
In the rite of the Institution of Acolytes, Archbishop Fabre placed the paten, which contains the hosts for the celebration of Mass, in the hands of each candidate. He then said, “Take this vessel with bread for the celebration of the Eucharist. Make your life worthy of your service at the table of the Lord and of his Church.”
The seminarians, 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 Pontifical North American College serves as the American seminary in Rome. Founded in 1859 by Blessed Pius IX, the College has formed over 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.
Photos courtesy pnac.