THE MINISTRY OF ACOLYTE
Acolyte comes from a Greek word meaning attendant or helper. The ministry has its roots in the Old Testament. The Levite priests and some of the prophets had assistants. Prior to 1972, the acolytes were considered a part of the clergy. Pope Paul VI’s intention in moto proprio was to recognize and encourage laypersons to participate more fully in the liturgy. The current Code of Canon Law has incorporated this ministry as one open to all baptized laypersons.
The duties include preparation of everything that is needed in the Sanctuary prior to the celebration of the Holy Mass and helping the celebrant with the Sacred Vessels during the celebration. The acolyte is also trained in the purification of the Sacred Vessels and the linens which may contain particles of the Body and Blood of Jesus. This is the responsibility of the acolyte after the Mass has ended.
The acolyte at the funeral Mass has a few more duties in the preparation and purification of everything needed for the funeral/memorial Mass. These works can also be considered one of the Corporal Works of Mercy, i.e. “Bury the dead.” The ministry of acolyte at a funeral is a very special privilege. It gives the minister the spiritual growth to reflect on their own meeting with God at the end of life as we know it here in this world.
New members require approval from the pastor before being commissioned.
Persons wanting to join this ministry please call the parish office: 510-351-5244.