What is an Acolyte anyway?

FRANCISCO-fact: You have talked about Lectors/Readers and Eucharistic Ministers—do we still have acolytes and what constitutes an Acolyte anyway?

The short answer to the above is that we still have acolytes as a ministry at St. Francis and that role is often filled by the Lector/Eucharistic minister or Lay Eucharistic Minister (LEM).

It should be noted that an acolyte was, strictly speaking, a minor order in the church in Rome by the middle of the third century, CE, and remains one of the orders of ministry through which aspirants to Holy Orders in the Roman Catholic Church pass on the way to priesthood. In the Episcopal Church we have used the term more colloquially to mean those who serve at the altar, especially those who carry the candles in procession.

At St. Francis this ministry has been filled by various types of ministers, including the LEMs at the 8:00 AM service and younger men and women at the 10:00 AM service. We have been using those who wish to fill these ministries as we are able since the return from COVID lockdown, but the pool of ministers is small. Ideally, when September 11 comes, the church would like to return to full processions which would include a crucifer, a book bearer, two acolytes bearing a candle each, the choir, and the clergy. That set up would allow us to have a Gospel procession when it is time to read the Gospel in the 10:00 AM service. These ministries in the service may be filled by adults or younger men and women beginning at age 10. There would be some training involved and that will occur once we have seen a demand for leadership in ministry of acolyte reaches a critical mass of around eight participants.

Those who might be interested may contact the Rector at rector@stfrancisgreatfalls.org or at 703-759-2082, ext. 102, the Parish Administrator at admin@stfrancisgreatfalls.org or at 703-759-2082, ext. 101; or the Acolyte Coordinator, David Black at davidblack2000@gmail.com. Taking an active role in the worship around the table, being responsible for lighting the altar, and illuminating the Gospel are profound and important ways to engage the Eucharist. We look forward to adding to our worship leaders in the upcoming fall season.

Published by fr.david

Rector of St. Francis Church. Adopted son of the Old Dominion--Hampden-Sydney loving, Red Sox supporting, Burkean.

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