LINCOLN (SNR) - On Saturday, March 16, at 10:30 a.m., nearly two dozen men from eastern Nebraska will be installed as acolytes and lectors at the Cathedral of the Risen Christ. A second acolyte/lector installation will be held in McCook April 12.
The men come from all walks of life, including college students.
Nick Christensen and Blake Marmie are from Saint Thomas Aquinas, the parish of the Newman Center adjacent to the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. They were invited to consider becoming acolytes by Father Benjamin Holdren, assistant pastor, and they both felt like it was a natural progression in how they contribute to the Church.
"It’s the next step after altar serving," Mr. Christensen said.
"And it’s a way to get more involved and to grow in faith," Mr. Marmie added.
For Phil Lang of the Cathedral of the Risen Christ, the idea came to him during a holy hour. "I just prayed, and I felt like I needed to do it," he said.
Each deanery trains acolytes and lectors, either in a group setting or individually, depending on the number of men interested in becoming an acolyte or lector. In the Lincoln area, the men attended five weeks of training at Saint Joseph Parish, led by Father Patrick Barvick. Father Barvick focused the first hour each week on reviewing important tenants of the Catholic faith. Then the group divided into acolytes and lectors for more specific training.
Lector and acolyte are instituted ministries in the life of the Church. All seminarians preparing to become deacons and priests receive these ministries as a necessary requirement.
Acolytes surely have the most intensive learning curve during the five weeks of training.
The title is derived from a Greek word that means to follow or accompany, which summarizes the role of an acolyte during Mass.
"Acolytes are beneficial in serving at Mass in several different ways," said Father Barvick.
They help with setting up and taking down various elements used during Mass, carrying the processional cross, holding the book (officially called the Roman Missal) while the priest reads various prayers, preparing the altar, distributing Communion, purifying the vessels afterward and so on.
"They are probably most helpful in bringing the Eucharist to the sick," Father Barvick said.
It may seem like all a lector needs to know is how to read aloud, but there’s more to it than that.
For men who step up and get the training to become acolytes or lectors, there is an opportunity to be an integral part in the celebration of the Mass. And the way their faith is strengthened through this has far-reaching effects.
For Mr. Lang, there are four children at home, including a second-grader who is extremely excited that her dad can serve as an acolyte at her first Communion Mass.
"They learn by watching me," Mr. Lang said. "I can help strengthen their faith by being strong in my faith."
All are welcome to attend the Mass for acolyte and lector installation at the Cathedral of the Risen Christ in Lincoln at 10:30 a.m. March 16. Any man who is interested in serving his parish in either of these roles should consult with his pastor for more information.