This weekend three of the brothers were instituted into the Ministry of Acolyte, here in the Priory Church of St. Saviour’s in Dublin.
The Ministry of Acolyte was reconstituted after Vatican II in its present form in 1972. There are different ministries in the Church entrusted to the faithful. Some of these functions, more closely connected to liturgical celebrations, were considered as preparatory institutions for the reception of Holy Orders. Before Vatican II there were Minor Orders and Major Orders. The Minor Orders were Porter, Reader, Exorcist and Acolyte. The Major Orders were Sub-deacon, Deacon and Priest. Today there are the Ministries of Lector and Acolyte –Acolyte having its original functions as well as that of Sub-deaconate.
The functions of the Acolyte are mainly, but not exclusively, connected with the celebration of the Eucharist. It is his duty “to attend to the service of the altar and to assist the deacon and the priest in liturgical celebrations, especially in the celebration of Mass“. The Acolyte is an auxiliary Eucharistic minister, which means that he can assist in the distribution of Holy Communion if there are for some reason not enough priests or deacons available. The Acolyte can also, under the same extraordinary circumstances, publicly expose the Blessed Sacrament for adoration by the faithful, and afterwards replace it in the tabernacle without blessing the people.