Sixteen seminarians at St. Charles Borromeo Seminary in the Second Theology class and 15 candidates from the School of Diaconate Formation came together on Saturday, May 7, at the seminary’s St. Martin’s Chapel for Mass and to be accepted into the Ministry of Acolyte, with Bishop of Trenton David M. O’Connell, C.M., presiding.
Of the seminarians, six are studying for the priesthood for the Philadelphia Archdiocese, nine for other dioceses and one for a religious congregation. All candidates in the School for Diaconate Studies (SDF) are studying for Archdiocese of Philadelphia.
(See a photo gallery of the Mass at St. Charles Seminary here.)
For the seminarians this will be the step before ordination to the transitional diaconate next year with priestly ordination in 2018.
For the SDF candidates this is the final step before their ordination to the permanent diaconate next year.
No permanent deacons will be ordained for the archdiocese this year. The Ministry of Acolyte was created after Vatican Council II when Pope Paul VI abolished what was known as the minor orders. The acolyte in effect replaced the former order of subdeacon.
An acolyte is appointed to aid the deacon and the priest in liturgical celebrations, especially in the celebration of Mass. He also distributes Communion as an extraordinary minister of the Eucharist.
Last year the men received the Ministry of Lector, the other ministry created when minor orders were eliminated.
“We are pleased to have a good group of Catholic men who want to serve the church,” said Father Patrick Brady, the dean of the School of Diaconate Formation at St. Charles.
Most prior years the two groups — those preparing for the priesthood and those preparing for the permanent diaconate — had separate liturgies for their reception of the Ministry of Acolyte, but “it is the same ministry they are being called to,” Father Brady said.
The number of acolytes from the permanent diaconate program this year is somewhat larger than usual. The reason there will be no permanent deacon ordinations this year is because of a reorganization in the program that caused a year to be skipped.
With that said, the numbers are always healthy, and “we usually have 10 to 12 a year,” Father Brady said.
“The process is so full of grace,” said Christopher Roberts of Our Mother of Consolation Parish, Philadelphia, who is on the path to the permanent diaconate. “My classmates are my brothers. They are wonderful men, making many sacrifices for the Lord. It is a privilege to be alongside them.
“The seminary faculty are also brilliant at combining the head and the heart, true academics but also people of prayer.”
The following seminarians received the Ministry of Acolyte:
For the Archdiocese of Philadelphia
Kyle M. Adamczyk
Brandon M. Artman
Eric J. Banecker
Austin J. Chukinas
Patrick J. Muka
For the Diocese of Arlington
Christopher F. Tipton
For the Diocese of Allentown
For the Archdiocese of Colombo, Sri Lanka
For the Diocese of Harrisburg
Richard J. Lyons
Timothy J. Sahd
For the Diocese of Lincoln
Luke J. Fleck
Allan N. Phan
For the Diocese of Raleigh
Marlon A. Mendieta
For the Diocese of Trenton
For the Oblates of St. Joseph
Brother Stephen Spencer, O.S.J.
The following men received the Ministry of Acolyte from the School for Diaconate Studies, Archdiocese of Philadelphia:
Anthony J. Bellitto, St. Stanislaus Parish, Lansdale
John R. Bowie, St. John Chrysostom Parish, Wallingford
Daniel D. Conden, St.Vincent DePaul Parish, Richboro
Michael J. Cushing, St. Jude Parish, Chalfont
Kevin Harrington, Holy Cross Parish, Springfield
Patrick J. Kennedy, St. Philip Neri Parish, Pennsburg
Stephen E. Liberatore, Assumption B.V.M. Parish, West Grove
Christopher J. Mars, St. David Parish, Willow Grove
Daniel E. Mazurek, St. Isaac Jogues Parish, Wayne
John J. Pfeifer, St. Andrew Parish, Newtown
Kevin J. Potter, St. Luke the Evangelist, Glenside
Christopher C. Roberts, Our Mother of Consolation Parish, Philadelphia
William F. Rutledge, St. Catherine of Siena Parish, Horsham
Mark R. Szewczak, St. Ann Parish, Phoenixville
Justin R. Watkins, Sacred Heart of Jesus Parish, Oxford