ROME – Three seminarians of the Diocese of Lake Charles - Joseph Calloura Caraway, Andrew Martin DeRouen, and Levi Joseph Thompson – were among 47 men in the Second Year Class of the Pontifical North American College instituted as acolytes on Sunday, February 25 - the Second Sunday of Lent.
The Most Reverend Joseph Di Noia, O.P. was the celebrant of the Rite of Institution during the Mass, celebrated in the Chapel of the Immaculate Conception of the North American College . Archbishop Di Noia addressed the men about to be instituted in his homily, encouraging them to see the Transfiguration of Jesus as an image of the priestly vocation to which they aspire and to which they come closer by this ministry.
The seminarians, currently in their second year of formation for the priesthood, would have two additional years of theological studies and spiritual formation before being ordained to the priesthood with God’s grace, in their home dioceses.
Following the homily, Archbishop Di Noia instituted the men, and during the rite presented each candidate with a paten filled with hosts. As he handed over the paten, he instructed them: “Take this vessel of bread for the celebration of the Eucharist. Make your life worthy of your service at the table of the Lord and of His Church.”
Over the coming weeks of Lent, the men will serve at house liturgies and will also have the opportunity to serve at the Station Churches throughout the city of Rome. The Rite was celebrated .
During his homily, the Archbishop reminded the men to be installed that as acolytes that this day marks an important milestone along the path toward their future ordination to the Priesthood. As men striving to be alter Christus or "another Christ," each newly instituted acolyte is called to conform his identity to Jesus Christ.
The responsibilities of the acolyte are oriented mainly toward acts of service, including to assist the priest during liturgical celebrations, especially the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, and to distribute communion when required.
"You will perform these functions more worthily," the Archbishop instructed, "if you participate in the Holy Eucharist with increasingly fervent devotion and receive nourishment from it. “At the very heart of the Ministry of Acolyte, is the celebration of the Holy Eucharist, which is the summit and source of the life of the Church.”
Through the institution to the ministry of acolyte, each man is called to reflect on these mysteries ever more closely, striving each day to offer himself entirely to God and have a sincere love for the people of God whom they re called to serve.
The North American College serves as the American seminary in Rome. Founded in 1859 by Blessed Pius IX, the college has formed over 5,000 priests near the heart of the Church for service in dioceses around the United States, Canada, and Australia. The College strengthens the bonds between Rome and local Churches worldwide, and it allows its students to study the Church’s rich religious and cultural heritage at close range.