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East Anglian seminarian receives Ministry of Acolyte

Diocese of East Anglia seminarian Matthew Allen received the Ministry of Acolyte, along with classmates at the Pontifical College Beda in Rome, on Friday March 22. Here he explains what it means to him.

The Ministry of Acolyte is a significant milestone on the journey towards the sacred priesthood. It is the last stage of our priestly formation before ordination to the diaconate and presbyterate (priesthood).

So, what is an Acolyte? The word “Acolyte” derives from a Greek term, akolouthos, which means “follower”. As an Acolyte, it is our responsibility to assist priests and deacons in carrying out their ministry at the Mass, and as special ministers to give Holy Communion to the faithful at the Mass and to the sick.

At the rite of institution for Acolytes, the candidate receives from the bishop (for us at the Beda, our Father Rector) either the chalice of wine or a vessel containing the bread for consecration at the celebration of the Eucharist.

I am now in my third year of formation and, with the busyness of our lectures, essays, and exams, that time seems to have passed by so quickly and joyfully. When I was writing my formal request to become and Acolyte to our Bishop Peter, I realised the next letter I will write (God willing, of course) will be for ordination to the diaconate.

Receiving the Ministry of Acolyte could be just another box to tick on a journey of discernment towards the priesthood, however, it is so much more. It is not just preparation for the priesthood, but a ministry of service to God and His Church. During the Mass, to help prepare and assist the priest, but also to help others to see the love that the Lord has for each one of us in the Eucharist, the “source and summit” of our faith (ccc. 1324).

Pictured above, Matthew Allen receiving the Ministry of Acolyte at the Pontifical College Beda in Rome.