Institution of Acolyte

Dear sons in Christ, as people chosen for the ministry of acolyte, you will have a special role in the Church’s ministry.  The summit and source of the Church’s life is the Eucharist, which builds up the Christian community and makes it grow.  It is your responsibility to assist Priests and Deacons in carrying out their ministry, and as special ministers to give Holy Communion to the faithful at the liturgy and to the sick.  Because you are specially called to this ministry, you should strive to live more fully by the Lord’s Sacrifice and to be molded more perfectly in its likeness.  You should seek to understand the deep spiritual meaning of what you do, so that you may offer yourselves daily to God as spiritual sacrifices acceptable to him through Jesus Christ.  In performing your ministry bear in mind that, as you share the one bread with your brothers and sisters, so you form one Body with them.  Show a sincere love for Christ’s Mystical Body, God’s holy people, and especially for the weak and the sick.  Be obedient to the commandment which the Lord gave to his Apostles at the Last Supper: “Love one another as I also have loved you.”

Brothers and Sisters, let us pray to the Lord for those chosen by him to serve in the ministry of acolyte.  Let us ask him to fill them with his blessing and strengthen them for faithful service in his Church.

God of mercy,
Through your only Son
you entrusted the bread of life to your Church.
Bless + our brothers
who have been chosen for the ministry of acolyte.
Grant that they may be faithful
in the service of your altar
and in giving to others the Bread of Life;
may they grow always in faith and love,
and so build up your Church.
Through Christ our Lord.

Each candidate goes to the Bishop, who gives him a vessel with the bread or wine to be consecrated saying:

Take this vessel with bread (wine)
for the celebration of the Eucharist.
Make your life worthy of your service
at the table of the Lord and of his Church.

[Prayers and texts taken from the Roman Pontifical]

Last night those of us in 3rd Theology that hadn’t yet received the ministry of acolyte were instituted by Archbishop Aquila at St. John Vianney Theological Seminary, consequently I was one of those who received the ministry of acolyte.  This is the third minor order I needed to receive prior to diaconate ordination (the other two minor orders are the Admission to Candidacy for Holy Orders and the Institution of Lector, both of which I have already received).  The ministry of acolyte is centered around the Eucharist.  It means that I will serve more closely at the altar during the Sacrifice of the Mass, assisting deacons and priests in their ministry of service (including purifying sacred vessels) and as an acolyte I have a special role in bringing Jesus in the blessed Sacrament to the sick.

This road I’m on towards Holy Orders keeps flying by faster than I expect.  It seems like only yesterday I was a nervous “newbie” entering seminary for the first time at Conception Seminary College and had no idea what God had planned for me.  I knew that I was trying to follow God and He led me to seminary.  I remember in those days thinking that ordination was “years” away and I had plenty of time to learn and prep for it.  But looking at it now, I can’t help but laugh at how naive I was.  Diaconate ordination for me is only months away and I realize now that I’m still not “ready” for it, but I have come to learn that He will provide for me if only I daily put my trust in Him.  During the past four years I have learned a lot about my Catholic Faith, but also I’ve learned a lot about myself.  I have been challenged; I have struggled with myself; I have laughed, cried, grown, healed, and am being ever more propelled by God to keep saying “YES” to Him.  I realize now I will never be “ready” as the inner perfectionist in me wants to be for ordination, but ultimately that doesn’t matter.  What matters is that I keep saying YES to God my heavenly Father and keep placing my trust in Him.  And this is by no means easy!  The part of me that tends towards pelagianism keeps trying to do everything myself (my prayer, my studies, my practicum, my relationships with others, etc.), and do it perfectly on my own.  Last night was a reminder to me that this is not the case and cannot be the case.  I did not achieve this ministry by anything I did (by “doing” something myself), but God gave me this ministry as a way to give glory to Him, amid my own weakness and imperfection.  God, who is love, gives freely if only we are open to receiving Him.  He gives himself to us as a gift, principally in Jesus Christ.  I will never be able to merit God by “achieving him” by works.  My works will glorify God, but they will not earn me love.  These ministries I have received I have not “achieved” but have rather received them as a gift from an infinitely generous God who desires me to be His priest and this is one of the steps along that path.  I will never be the “perfect” acolyte (or lector, or priest), but rather will strive for perfection with God as my helper.

Lord, I ask for the grace to carry out your works with humility, help me to bring others to know the love you have for them by my life.

My brother and I after the Mass when I was instituted as an acolyte.
My family was able to come be a part of the liturgy.
Additionally Fr. Brian Hess’ parents (a second set of parents to me) came down to be a part of this event.
Deacon Joe joined in the celebration and sat at my table during the banquet following the Mass.


Reflections on 2nd Theology

So once again I’m trying to get a blog going and this time I think I may have something that I want to stay with. The Roamin’ Catholic Seminarian… to chronicle my life and its many journeys throughout Wyoming and the rest of the world, specifically when I’m in Guatemala this summer and elsewhere in the future. (Plus it’s punny…get it?)


So to kick it off I wanted to share a brief look at my life this past year in seminary. I was in 2nd Theology this year at St. John Vianney Theological Seminary in Denver, CO and wow, what a year! Many graces came my way during this year including a newfound interior freedom to love myself, new friends, new theology classes, new mountains climbed, new trails hiked, new races run, and new places visited. It was quite a busy year.


If I were to synthesize my year I would have to say that, interiorly, it was characterized by a spiritual movement of love to accept the person God created me to be: a Beloved Son of the Father. I spent the time unpacking the graces received last summer at the Institute for Priestly Formation (IPF). At IPF I was blessed by experiencing an 8-day Ignatian silent retreat where I was able to encounter God the Father in a way that I had never experienced before. I learned how to receive the Father’s love for me and began to finally see my life in a radically new way: my life, with all its triumphs and trials, is not bad or corrupt (because I know my own failures), but is a blessing and God is using it to reveal His glory. My own sufferings will only help me in my future priestly ministry to bring others to God’s healing love as well. My semester at St. John Vianney was an unfolding of that primary grace. I readjusted back to seminary life easily and made some incredible new friends. I found myself much more comfortable just being me, which hasn’t happened in a long time. I managed to get outside a fair number of times, hike a mountain (Mount Bierstadt), find some geocaches (Roxborough State Park), run a few races (the Run Denver series) and still felt like academics were a little too much and preventing me from heading outdoors. I also was assigned to a local parish, St. Vincent de Paul, and was involved there and met the wonderful parish family and was blessed to minister there. The primary spiritual push from God this spring was to encourage me to learn how to enjoy God in the individual moments of life, even amidst the crazy, stressful, and hectic academics that were occurring.

Right now I am home for just a couple of weeks, soaking up as much vacation as I can, allowing myself to be renewed and rejuvinated by God before witnessing the priest ordination of my fellow seminarian brothers, Deacon Brian Hess (see his blog here) and Deacon Bob Rodgers in the middle of June. Then I’ll be headed off to Guatemala for 8 weeks for a Spanish immersion to learn the language and the culture where I will hopefully be able to update my blog for you all to keep you informed of my progress and, of course, to share pictures!


Enjoy the barrage of pictures below from my 2nd year of Theology in Denver!

St. John Vianney Theological Seminary
Hiking on our annual seminary-wide camping trip. Bryce Lungren (Helena, MT) and I atop Medicine Bow Peak in the Snowy Range (near Laramie, WY).
This year I have formed a great friendship with Andy Miller (seminarian from Phoenix, AZ). Together we kicked off the school year and summited Mt. Evans (we drove a car up the mountain).
Atop Mt. Bierstadt (14,065 feet)
Celebrating the hike up Mt. Bierstadt.
John Paul Lewis (Oklahoma City, OK) and I on Mt. Bierstadt.
Last fall I was blessed to be installed as a lector. My family came down to share in that moment with me.
In October I flew to Phoenix, AZ to visit Kim Komando and her staff. We got to watch her broadcast her show live and toured the Musical Instrument Museum afterwards.
Deacon Keith Kenney (Phoenix, AZ) really likes Christmas (and so do I!).
One of the races I ran with a group of friends, including Deacon Brian Hess.
I was blessed to be a part of the wedding ceremony of some great friends, Sean and Mary.
I ran a 10K in Arvada, CO in January: the 2014 Polar Prowl.
We watched the annoying defeat of the Broncos in the Super Bowl…and had a cupcake war.
Deacon Brian and I were visited by Padre Pio!
I was surprised with brunch by a group of friends for my birthday.
Andy also took me out for my birthday. We spent a fun day in Dillon, CO.
The next weekend we found the botanitcal gardens…in March. The outdoor exhibits weren’t growing yet…but the catci were cool!
Climbing Castle Rock and I almost got stuck.
But we still summited Castle Rock.
Deacon Brian and I made a whirlwind trip during Easter break to Ontario, Canada. The Niagara Falls were beautiful!
We arrived at St. Meinrad School of Theology for the diaconate ordinations of two Wyoming seminarians, Augustine and Hiep!
Last hike of the year…Maxwell Falls trail in the foothills of the Rockies, near Evergreen, CO.
It was very fitting to begin and end the year in the mountains with Andy.
Until next time!