Every year in the calendar of the Scots College, students from different stages of their journey through seminary receive various ministries. Acolyte is a major step on the road to ordination, and two students received the ministry on the 3rd Sunday of Lent.
Archbishop Paul Gallagher, Secretary for the Relations with States within the Holy See’s Secretariat of State, visited the Scots College on the 3rd Sunday of Lent, to celebrate Mass and to preside at the installation of two new members of the community as Acolytes.
Andrew McGowan for the Archdiocese of Glasgow and Mark O’Donnell for the Diocese of Motherwell, who are both studying in Second Theology, received the ministry. As Archbishop Gallagher said during his sermon, the role of Acolyte can have an ever increasing importance in communities especially in places where the diminishing number of clergy puts a greater pastoral burden on serving priests. The Acolyte’s role in the life of a parish is exercised in assisting the Deacon or Priest at Mass and distributing Holy Communion as a supporting minister during the Mass, visiting the sick and housebound and providing instruction for the faithful. Other duties can include the exposition of the Blessed Sacrament, but not Benediction.
The Archbishop also reflected on the Gospel image of the tree being tended to, ensuring its continued growth – drawing a comparison to the new Acolytes, but also the other members of the community, who continue to grow in their vocation over the years in seminary only through care and attention to the call of God.
The word of Acolyte, comes from the Greek, akolouthos, which means “follower”.