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Steps to priesthood: The Ministries of Acolyte and Lector

KUCHING – The steps of Minor Orders (now called the Ministries of Acolyte and Lector) once again remind seminarians at St Peter’s College Major Seminary here of the ultimate goal of the seminarian, for he is not called simply to grow intellectually, but by the progression of Orders, to be transformed into a priest of Jesus Christ and minister at His holy altar.

On Nov 5, a 600-crowd made up of family members, friends, and benefactors witnessed nine seminarians  instituted as Acolytes, and five seminarians instituted as Lectors. The special rites were conferred by Bishop Joseph Hii of Sibu Diocese during the Eucharistic Celebration.

Out of the nine Acolytes, three were from the Archdiocese of Kota Kinabalu, two from the Archdiocese of Kuching, and one each from the Diocese of Sandakan, the Diocese of Keningau, the Diocese of Sibu, and the Archdiocese of Kuala Lumpur.

The five Lectors were one each from the Diocese of Sandakan, the Archdiocese of Kuala Lumpur and the Archdiocese of Kuching, while two were from the Diocese of Penang.

Traditionally, these solemn annual ceremonies take place when the Friends of St Peter’s College gather for their annual dinner to thank benefactors who have contributed to the formation of seminarians through the years.

The dinner began with prayer by Bishop Hii. A traditional dance with bamboo instruments was presented to welcome everyone. The newly instituted Lectors, Acolytes and Final Year Seminarians provided some lively entertainment for the evening.

St Peter’s College rector Fr Nicholas Ng expressed his gratitude to God and to all for having contributed to yet another year of fruitful ministry and formation of the seminarians.

 While lay people can be called to either of these ministries (altar server and lay reader), they are integral in the path to the priesthood.  The Acolyte is instituted for service at the altar and to assist the priest and deacon. It is his place principally to prepare the altar and the sacred vessels and, if necessary, to distribute the Eucharist to the faithful as an extraordinary minister.

The Lector is instituted to proclaim the Word of God with the exception of the Gospel in the Mass. He will instruct the fundamentals of the Catholic faith to adults and children to prepare them to receive the sacraments worthily. –  Sem Sylvester Wong (2nd Year Theology)

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