Sunday, 22 May 2011 10:08

Deacon candidates receive Ministry of Acolyte

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James Schwartzkopf of St. Mary Parish in Alton receives a paten with bread to be consecrated from Bishop Thomas John Paprocki as a part of his institution as an Acolyte for the permanent diaconate on Sunday, May 15 at the Cathedral of Immaculate Conception.On May 15 Bishop Thomas John Paprocki conferred the Ministry of Acolyte on 14 men who are candidates for the permanent diaconate in 2012. These men, along with their spouses, children, grandchildren and other family members, were at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception at 10 a.m. Sunday Mass.

Bishop Paprocki was the principal celebrant of the Mass with Msgr. David Lantz, director of the Office for the Diaconate, concelebrating. Father Daren Zehnle was episcopal master of ceremonies. Serving as deacons were Deacons Larry Smith, Wayne Zimmerman, and Jim Ghiglione, who is a member of the diaconate formation team.

In his homily, Bishop Paprocki said he was privileged to be there, conferring the ministry of Acolyte on the candidates in the formation program leading to ordination to the permanent status of deacon. “Being a bit of a word maven, I like to look up the etymology or origins of words,” he said.

“The word ‘acolyte’ comes from Medieval Latin, acolytus, which derives from the Greek word akolouthos, meaning ‘attendant’ or ‘follower.’ In a generic sense, the word ‘acolyte’ is used to denote a follower, a companion, a fan, a supporter, a pupil, a believer, an admirer, a backer, a partisan, and a disciple,” he said.

“In the ecclesial context, an acolyte is someone who assists a priest in a Catholic liturgical service. An acolyte spelled with a small ‘a’ often is used simply to refer to any altar server,” he said. “But in this formal institution to the Ministry of Acolyte, with a capital ‘A,’ canon law provides that a man officially instituted into the Ministry of Acolyte is constituted as an extraordinary minister of holy Communion (canon 910,§ 2) to give holy Communion to the faithful and to the sick.

Thomas Wilkinson Sr. of Ss. Peter and Paul Parish in Alton bows as he responds to his name being called as an Acolyte. The men responded, “Present” stating not only that they are physically there in the Cathedral, but more importantly that they are making themselves available to be “present” to Christ and to his church. “In addition, in the absence of a priest, you are authorized to serve as a minister of exposition and reposition of the Blessed Sacrament without benediction (canon 943),” Bishop Paprocki said. “The main point is that the functions of an acolyte bring him into close relation with liturgical services, where we give glory to God and which lead them to the ministry of service to their brothers and sisters.

“This will serve as helpful preparation for the more extensive liturgical functions and diaconal service that by the grace of God these men will exercise some day as deacons,” he said.

Following his homily, Bishop Paprocki blessed the candidates as a group and prayed with each man individually as he handed them a paten with the bread to be consecrated, saying, “Take this vessel with bread for the celebration of the Eucharist. Make your life worthy of your service at the table of the Lord and of his church.” The Acolytes responded, “Amen.”

The 14 men who are now Acolytes are:  David S. Bohnenstiehl, Ss. Peter and Paul Parish, Collinsville; Sean A. Caveny, St. Joseph Parish, Benld; Harry L. Cramer, Blessed Sacrament Parish, Quincy; Robert F. Crosby, St. Jerome Parish, Troy; James R. Hill, Ss. Peter and Paul Parish, Collinsville; Leland B. Johns, St. Michael the Archangel Parish, Staunton; Paul E. Koch, Holy Family Parish, Mt. Sterling; Robert M. Lundberg, Blessed Sacrament Parish, Quincy; John H. Murphy, St. Boniface Parish, Edwardsville; Gregory W. Parquette, Blessed Sacrament Parish, Springfield; James M. Schwartzkopf, St. Mary Parish, Alton; Charles E. Theivagt, St. Michael Parish, Greenfield; Eugene Uptmor, Immaculate Conception Parish, Shelbyville; and Thomas Wilkinson Sr., Ss. Peter and Paul Parish, Alton.