Moving ever closer to the day they will commit the whole of their lives in service to Christ and His Church, eight diocesan seminarians were instituted Aug. 3 in the ministries of lector and acolyte.
When seminarians receive the ministries of lector and acolyte, which differ slightly from ministries of the same name exercised by lay persons, the Church recognizes the formation that has occurred in them and their willingness to embrace the ministries as another sign of their preparation for ordination.
The Mass with Institution of Acolyte and Lectors for most seminarians of the Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend is usually celebrated at Mount St. Mary’s Seminary in Emmitsburg, Maryland, but this year had to be postponed. The Mass was celebrated by Bishop Kevin C. Rhoades at St. Martin de Porres Church, Syracuse, instead and attended by some of their family members and friends. Vince Faurote, Brian Florin, Bobby Krisch, David Langford, Jacob Schneider, Ryan Timossi and Brian Kempiak, have completed their first year of theology studies and were instituted as lectors. Fellow first-year Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend theologians Samuel Anderson and Zane Langenbrunner were instituted as lectors this spring at Pontifical North American College in Rome.
The institution of seminarian Brian Isenbarger as acolyte also was postponed from the spring due to the COVID-19 pandemic. He has finished his second year of theology study at Mount St. Mary’s Seminary. Fellow second-year theology student Mark Hellinger received the ministry at Pontifical North American College in early 2020.
During his homily, Bishop Rhoades reminded those present that the life of the first Christian community in Jerusalem centered around the teaching of the apostles and the fellowship, or communion (koinonia) with one another, experienced especially through the breaking of the bread (the Eucharist) — as well as their prayers together.
“Their spiritual sharing was then the foundation for their material sharing of goods,” he told them. “All these things remain crucial for the life of the Church. I mention this today since two elements of the Church’s life are highlighted in this Mass with the institution of lectors and an acolyte: the commitment to the teaching of the apostles, which comes to us through the Sacred Scriptures, and the celebration of the Eucharist, the breaking of the bread, the very heart of the Church’s life.”
Addressing the seminarians who would be instituted as lectors, the bishop said that during seminary the Church wants them to learn to love the Word of God.
“But besides your study of the Scriptures, you are called to a profound personal relationship with God’s word, particularly in lectio divina. I hope you are learning to see the relationship between your Biblical studies and your prayer with the Scriptures. It’s only when we ‘abide in the Word’ that we become better disciples of the Lord.”
He encouraged them to devote themselves to the prayerful reading of the Scriptures, to carefully and prayerfully preparing to read the readings and remembering that Christ is present to His people when the Scriptures are read at the liturgy.
Regarding the institution of the ministry of acolyte, the bishop noted that there is a “profound unity between the Word of God and the Eucharist.”
“The early Church was devoted to both the teaching of the apostles and the breaking of the bread. In the Emmaus story, after Jesus explained the Scriptures to the two disciples, He broke the bread with them whereupon they recognized it was Jesus. ‘The presence of Jesus, first with His words and then with the act of breaking bread, made it possible for the disciples to recognize Him.’ (Pope Benedict XVI, Verbum Domini 54).
“There is this unbreakable bond, Pope Benedict taught, between Scripture and the Eucharist. The Order of the Lectionary says, ‘It can never be forgotten that the divine word, read and proclaimed by the Church, has as its one purpose the sacrifice of the new covenant and the banquet of grace, that is, the Eucharist.’
He highlighted the importance of the priest’s bringing holy Communion to the homebound, the sick and the dying, to strengthen their relationship with Christ and the Church.
Bishop Rhoades concluded by praying for all diocesan candidates to the priesthood, that these steps would deepen their resolve to follow the Lord’s call. “May your hearts burn within you as you are more deeply immersed in God’s word; and may you experience joy and wonder in recognizing Jesus every day in the breaking of the bread!”
The best news. Delivered to your inbox.
Subscribe to our mailing list today.