Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Seminarians Instituted as Lectors and Acolytes at Mount Angel Seminary

Story by Phillip J. Shifflet; photos by Joseph Nguyen

On Monday, February 9, in the Abbey Church at Mount Angel Seminary, the Most Reverend Armando X. Ochoa, Bishop of Fresno, celebrated the Ministries Mass, during which thirteen seminarians were instituted as lectors and eleven seminarians were instituted as acolytes.

Bishop Ochoa with the new lectors and acolytes.

Instituted as lectors were David Jones of the Diocese of Baker; Mitchell Hornsby of the Diocese of Boise; Gerson Espinosa Velasco, Stephen Kenyon, Fiacre Nduwayo, and Kurt Ziehlke of the Archdiocese of Portland in Oregon; Steven Wood of the Diocese of Sacramento; Santiago Feu and Rodrigo Llorente of the Saint John Society; and Benjamin Bray, Carl Sisolak, Michael Sztajno, and Anh Tran of the Archdiocese of Seattle.

Instituted as acolytes were Victor Mena Martínez of the Diocese of Baker; Nathan Dail and Joseph Lustig of the Diocese of Boise; Joseph Paddock of the Diocese of Helena; Felipe Jiménez of the Diocese of Las Vegas; Br. Matthias Lambrecht, OCD, of the Discalced Carmelite Province of St. Joseph; Brent Crowe of the Archdiocese of Portland in Oregon; Lucio Zuñiga Rocha of the Diocese of Reno; Nicolás Facile and Juan Pablo Segura of the Saint John Society; and Nathan McWeeney of the Diocese of San Diego.

The lay ministries of lector and acolyte are typically conferred upon those men pursuing holy orders. At MAS, a seminarian is instituted a lector during his first year of theological studies and an acolyte during his second year of theological studies. Bishop Ochoa thanked the seminarians for their generosity in offering themselves in service to the Lord, and said, “This symbol and very important ritual marks a moment of passage for you as you move forward in your discernment and preparation in Christian ministry.”

In his homily, Bishop Ochoa encouraged those being instituted to deepen their relationship with Jesus, the Divine Word present in the tabernacle. To the lectors, he said: “When you speak the words of Sacred Scriptures, you must know that you are echoing the very Word of God. That Word that brings all things into existence. The word you proclaim has power.” To the acolytes he said: “The Church calls you to be ordinary ministers of the Eucharistic presence of Christ. You are also called to teach true devotion to our Eucharistic Lord. You are called to handle that which is most sacred to us. You are called to bring the healing presence of Jesus to those who need him.”

Mount Angel Seminary, established by the monks of Mount Angel Abbey, began forming men for the priesthood in 1889.  MAS is now the oldest and largest seminary in the Western United States, and the only seminary in the West that offers both a college and a graduate school of theology.

Since its inception, MAS has educated and formed thousands of priests for service to the people of God in nearly 100 dioceses and religious communities across the country and around the world.

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