Fr Leonard E Dollentas
Two seminarians, Bosco Chan and Adriano Serro Agostinho, took a step closer to priesthood on Saturday, February 4, 2023.
The two were installed as Acolytes at a mass celebrated by Bishop Stephen Lee Bun-sang at the Cathedral of the Nativity of Our Lady in Macau. In the Catholic Church, seminarians are first instituted as lectors and typically installed as acolytes a year later.
In brief, the sacred Roman missal describes their role in the liturgy: “The acolyte attends to the service of the altar, assisting the deacon and the priest during liturgical celebrations, especially in preparing the altar for the Eucharist at Mass and, if necessary, to distribute the Eucharist to the faithful as an extraordinary minister…The role of the acolyte is similar to the duties carried out by an altar server and an extraordinary minister of Holy Communion. However, as installed acolytes, they now assist at the altar at which they will one day preside. In addition, an acolyte is entrusted with the exposition of the Blessed Sacrament for adoration, but an acolyte may not offer Benediction.”
As part of the installation, Fr Cyril Jerome Law, Jr., presented the candidates to Bishop Lee. The bishop placed the paten, which contained the hosts for the celebration of Mass, in their hands, and 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.”
To which each candidate responded: Amen.
In his homily, Bishop Lee stated that Jesus had mercy on his people who were like sheep without shepherds and explained that this was due to the lack of shepherds and that some shepherds were not fulfilling their duties properly. He exhorted the faithful to pray for the shepherds and for more vocations, especially for the Catholic Diocese of Macau. Since the formation process for the priesthood is long and would not be easy to go through, he urged the faithful to support the seminarians with prayers and material assistance such that they may become good shepherds through God’s selection and with His mercy to fulfil their ministries joyfully without sighing.
The ministries of Lector and Acolyte are an opportunity for a seminarian to engage in the liturgy of the Church with a new responsibility to God and His people. The seminarians who are prepared to serve as lectors and acolytes now give their lives to Jesus Christ in a new way as installed ministers. Through these roles, they will bring delight to our God and reverence to our Mass.
To proclaim God’s word and serve at His altar are holy ministries in themselves, and essential means of preparation for the priesthood. As they journey towards the end of their theological studies, these two seminarians have dedicated themselves wholeheartedly to understand and live by heart the goal of seminary formation, namely, to form them to be balanced, holy, learned, and effective priests of Jesus Christ, and it is a blessing to see them draw closer to the Sacrament of Holy Orders. They are good men and will serve God and His people well.
Bosco and Adriano will be completing their theological studies and will be preparing to receive Candidacy to Ordination, the final phase before ordination. It is a time during which they can continue their self-examination and complete the educational requirements for ordination.
Please keep our new Acolytes in your prayers.
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. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.
(Acknowledgement: Excerpts from Bishop Lee’s homily in Chinese, translated into
English with the kind assistance of Joseph Ka Hing Yip/ Photos courtesy of Fr. Eduardo Emilio Agüero, SCJ)