Anthony, who is 24 and in the second year of training at Allen Hall, received the Ministry of Reader (or Lector) on March 5 when Bishop Alan was invited to give the ministry to Anthony and five others.
"The ceremony was a wake-up call to take scriptures very seriously and to let it mould my mind, heart and life," said Anthony. "Since I received the ministry I have felt an increase in my appetite for reading and cherishing scriptures so it feels like I received some graces. In his homily, Bishop Alan spoke about how our knowledge and love for scripture must go beyond what is required for academic purposes. I was really happy to have received the Ministry of Reader from my own bishop. It was great to have my family, friends from the university and some priests from our diocese with me on that day.
"I am grateful to all who have supported me in several ways and I ask you to continue in prayers for myself and other seminarians in our diocese."
Anthony and his family came to the UK in 2006 from Lagos in Nigeria and settled in a part of London which was in Southwark Archdiocese. In 2011, he went to study Economics at the University of East Anglia. Anthony attended Mass regularly at the Cathedral and at the UEA chaplaincy and grew to love Norwich. Towards the end of his degree he applied for priestly formation forthe Diocese of East Anglia, was accepted and started seminary on September 6, 2014.
"The ministry of Reader or Lector is usually the first ministry a seminarian receives on the journey towards priesthood," said Anthony. "So this is the first milestone and is a very encouraging occasion as it all begins to feel real.
"Technically, and in former times, the ministry of reader allowed you to read at Mass. But these days it has a ceremonial, symbolic and spiritual purpose. The ministry is a wake-up call to the seminarian inviting him to reflect on the primacy of the Word of God in his life and the role scriptures must play in our future ministry as priests (God-willing). As the formation process goes on we would receive the ministries of Acolyte (which reflects on the centrality of the Eucharist), Candidacy (which officially acknowledges the seminarian as a candidate for priesthood and finally there is Diaconate. The love of scripture must be the foundation of the subsequent future ministries so this is why we usually receive the ministry of Lector early on in our second year."
Pictured above is seminarian Anthony Asomugha with Bishop Alan Hopes at Allen Hall in London.