Expert Answer Forum

Acolytes & Lectors QUESTION from Richard J. Denningham, Jr. February 22, 2000
Could you explain the Acolyte ministry. Also, could you explain the difference between a Lector and a Formally Installed Lector. Thanks & God Bless. ANSWER by Mr. John Miskell on April 5, 2000
Dear Richard, According to the 1913 Catholic Encyclopedia; An acolyte is a cleric promoted to the fourth and highest minor order in the Latin Church, ranking next to a subdeacon. The chief offices of an acolyte are to light the candles on the altar, to carry them in procession, and during the solemn singing of the Gospel; to prepare wine and water for the sacrifice of the Mass; and to assist the sacred ministers at the Mass, and other public services of the Church. In the ordination of an acolyte the bishop presents him with a candle, extinguished, and an empty cruet, using appropriate words expressive of these duties. Altar boys are often designated as acolytes and perform the duties of such. The duties of the acolyte in Catholic liturgical services are fully described in the manuals of liturgy, e.g. Pio Matinucci, Manuale Sacrarum Caeremoniarum (Rome, 1880), VI, 625; and De Herdt, Sacrae Liturgiae Praxis (Louvain, 1889), II, 28-39. Lectors are normally installed at a special Mass. Non-installed Lectors are sometimes used in the case of necessity. I hope this helps. John Miskell Back to Index Page

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