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Chapa instituted as acolyte in Rome

March 4, 2013

Eric Chapa receives patten from Archbishop Joseph A. Di Noia O.P. when instituted as acolyte. (Christopher Brashears, Pontifical North American College.)

ROME - On Sunday, March 3, the Pontifical North American College installed 62 seminarians to the ministry of acolyte during a celebration of the Eucharist at the school’s chapel. Eric Chapa a seminarian with the Diocese of Corpus Christi and a second year student of theological studies was among those seminarians instituted. 

These seminarians have now received both the ministry of lector and acolyte in anticipation of their diaconal, and then priestly, ordination. 

Archbishop Joseph A. Di Noia O.P. vice president of the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei, celebrated the Mass and instituted the new acolytes.  Archbishop Di Noia was joined at the altar by nine cardinals from the United States, present in Rome for the forthcoming Conclave to select a new pope. The seminary provides formation for candidates to the priesthood from the United States.

The archbishop handed each seminarian the gold paten used in the celebration of the Eucharist, with the words “Take this vessel of bread for the celebration of the Eucharist. Make your lives worthy of your service at the table of the Lord and of his Church.”

In his homily, Archbishop Di Noia said that through their institution the Church has given the new acolytes the responsibility to assist priests and deacons in carrying out their ministry, and as special ministers to give Holy Communion to the faithful at Mass and to the sick. The General Instruction of The Roman Missal describes the duties of the acolyte as being “instituted for service at the altar and to assist the priest and deacon. It is his place principally to prepare the altar and the sacred vessels and, if necessary, to distribute the Eucharist to the faithful as an extraordinary minister.”

Archbishop Di Noia said to the the newly instituted acolytes to “strive to live more fully by the Lord’s sacrifice and to be conformed ever more perfectly to Christ himself.” He encouraged them to “strive to understand the deep spiritual meaning of what you do, so that you may offer yourselves daily to God as spiritual sacrifices acceptable to him through Jesus Christ.”