Well acolyte installation is upon us here at the NAC. Actually it has already passed us by. Here are some good shots from the Mass and ritual.
All the priests and future acolytes fill half the chapel
Presentation of the candidates for acolyte
Archbishop Rodi of Mobile handing me the paten
A view from above
A long line of white...
All of us together with Bishop Rodi
Fr. Avram came over from the Casa to join us for the Mass. Aaron was here so it was a gathering of just three Sacramento men. But we also had Laura, a friend of Fr. Avram, join us for the Mass and brunch. That's all of us above.
Here are a couple thoughts on the whole thing.
In reflecting on this moment in my priestly formation, first I must say, I am glad I am finally here! I have been watching acolytes for years. Heck, this is the fourth time I have seen the institution of acolytes! So I am glad it was finally my turn. :)
But I think what struck me most, in all seriousness, was the reality that I am being in a certain sense woven into a fabric that is much greater than myself. I am moving closer to being made a priest of Jesus Christ, to becoming something that I cannot do by myself and something which I will never exercise by myself but always with Christ and for the Church. And what I will share in is the same mystery of so many apostles and saints, the gift of holy orders. There is just something so amazingly powerful and mystical about being made a priest. We will no longer act or think simply for ourselves but always with the Church and for God's glory. It is within the awe that I realize there is nothing else that I want for my life than to be a priest for others. And my great joy is that it is something I have not grasped for but that God has given to me.
It is also worth a moment to speak about what it is an acolyte does within this whole scheme of liturgy. The acolyte is part of the procession, holds the sacramentary for prayers, serves at the altar, at times will distribute holy communion, and can purify the sacred vessels. His essential part to play in the liturgy is serving at the altar, doing his best to allow the priest to pray.
I also like the fact that as an acolyte you finally get your own inaudible prayer, that is, when purifying the vessels like the paten and chalice. Here is the prayer:
Lord, may I receive these gifts in purity of heart. May they bring me healing and strength, now and forever.
Finally, I liked what our liturgy director here at the college said. "When you are a lector, you are paying attention to the acolytes. As an acolyte, you are paying attention to the deacon." There is a direction to these institutions to lector and acolyte. They move us, point us, toward holy orders, to being made deacon, and ultimately priest.