Role of Acolyte
The acolyte is instituted for service at the altar and to assist the Priest and Deacon. It is his place principally to prepare the altar and sacred vessels and, if necessary, to distribute the Eucharist to the faithful as an extraordinary minister. If Communion is given under both kinds, in the absence of a Deacon, the acolyte administers the chalice.
In what ways are Acolytes implementing their role?
- The functions that the acolyte may carry out are of various kinds and several may occur at the same moment. Hence, it is desirable that these duties be suitably distributed. If, in fact, only one acolyte is present, he should perform the more important duties while the rest are to be distributed among several ministers.
- Through the entire celebration, it is for the acolyte to approach the Priest or the Deacon, whenever necessary, in order to present the book to them and to assist them in any other way required, including receiving of the gifts, bringing the bread and wine to the altar, processions using incences, communion distribution, and purifying sacred vessels at the credence table.
What qualities are required of Acolytes?
- The Acolyte ministry is an important lay ministry within the Liturgy. For this reason training to become an Acolyte will include theology and scripture pertaining to this ministry, and a sound knowledge of the pastoral principles of liturgy as provided by the Church’s documents.
- Those wishing to become Acolytes are expected to have served at mass for least three months before completing the introductory course drawn up by the Centre for Liturgy and approved by the Archbishop. Where this is not possible, alternative arrangements have to be made with the Centre for Liturgy.
- Acolyte training takes place at the diocesan level, ongoing formation takes place at the parish level. They should be given regular opportunities for personal reflection and deeper appreciation of the ministry. This may well take place in conjunction with Acolytes from neighboring parishes. It is highly recommended that they attend diocesan workshops conducted each year in regional centers.