ELSIE (SNR) – Across the Diocese of Lincoln, men are preparing to be installed as acolytes and lectors for their parishes during ceremonies Feb. 20 at the Cathedral of the Risen Christ in Lincoln and April 7 at St. Patrick Church in McCook.
They will join 1,299 acolytes and 858 installed lectors serving parishes across the diocese.
In Elsie, at Resurrection of Our Lord Parish, one man who has answered this call for decades merits acknowledgment.
A frequent acolyte and lector, George Perlinger is 92 years old – “or maybe it’s 92 years young,” said parish news correspondent Joan Craig, and he still regularly serves the parish as a lector or acolyte. As an acolyte, “he kneels and rises at the altar as fast as some of the altar boys,” she said.
She called Perlinger a “staple” at Resurrection Parish. He has been a member there since 1949, is a trustee for the church and has served on the parish council.
As an acolyte, Perlinger said he enjoys “serving our Lord.” He began doing so at the request of Father Othmar Missler in the 1970s.
“Jewish people, even before the time of Jesus, selected some men to serve as acolytes: to assist in preparing the altar and helping the priest in liturgy,” explained Father Daniel Rayer, chancellor of the Diocese of Lincoln.
“That tradition has been popular at various times in the history of the Church. We’ve kept this tradition alive in the Diocese of Lincoln, and it’s great to see this ministry becoming popular in other parts of the Church as well. Mr. Perlinger is a link in a chain of service going back thousands of years.”
Perlinger is an appreciated link in that chain of service at his parish. Craig, a lifelong member of Resurrection Parish herself, called him “a great asset to our parish.”
Parishioner Glen Stanek called him “a very devout Catholic,” and his niece Susan McLaughlin of Colorado called him “an extensively holy person.”
Perlinger lives on and still works his farm about 10 miles northwest of Elsie. Perlinger also worked other occupations simultaneously with farming, including a land-moving business. Craig said he enjoys the outdoors and has had a passion for skiing for many years, skiing into his 80s.
“He teases now that he would like to go again if someone would be willing to go with him,” she said.
George was born in 1923 on the family farm near Paxton. He and his wife Margaret were married 63 years before her death in 2014. They had two sons, Ronald and Glen, and five grandchildren.