On the evening of Thursday 27 May, two students in formation for the Permanent Diaconate – Simon Akhirebhu and Bernard Martin – were instituted as Acolytes by Bishop Marcus at St Austin’s Church, Wakefield.
It was particularly fitting that the day chosen was the feast of St Austin, better known as St Augustine of Canterbury. This is the final step in their preparation for Ordination, God-willing, for service as deacons in the Diocese of Leeds.
Simon and Bernard are pictured together with Bishop Marcus and Rev David Arblaster, Director of the Permanent Diaconate. The following words from the homily for the Institution of Acolytes in the Roman Pontifical explain a little about the Ministry of Acolytes:
“Dear sons in Christ, as people chosen for the ministry of acolyte, you will have a special role in the Church’s ministry. The summit and source of the Church’s life is the Eucharist, which builds up the Christian community and makes it grow. It is your responsibility to assist Priests and Deacons in carrying out their ministry, and as special ministers to give Holy Communion to the faithful at the liturgy and to the sick. Because you are specially called to this ministry, you should strive to live more fully by the Lord’s Sacrifice and to be moulded more perfectly in its likeness. You should seek 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.
In performing your ministry bear in mind that, as you share the one bread with your brothers and sisters, so you form one Body with them. Show a sincere love for Christ’s Mystical Body, God’s holy people, and especially for the weak and the sick. Be obedient to the commandment which the Lord gave to his Apostles at the Last Supper: “Love one another as I also have loved you.”