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Acolyte Recognition Sunday

This Sunday at St. Mary’s we honor the young people who serve as acolytes on Sunday morning.

The work of the acolyte has its roots in the Old Testament where the prophet Samuel is seen assisting Eli, the Levite priest and Elisha is seen assisting Elijah the prophet.

The word Acolyte comes from the Greek word akoloutos, which means helper, companion, or attendant. In the early church, Acolytes were ordained as a minor order, joining Lectors, Exorcists, and Ositarii, known today as Vergers or Masters of Ceremony.

The primary purpose of the acolyte is to bear the cross and light candles. This has been unchanged since the fourth century. The Council of Carthage in 398 wrote about the ordination and primary purpose.

“when an acolyte is ordained, let him be taught by a bishop how he ought to act in the performance of his duty. But let him receive from the archdeacon a candlestick with a candle that he may know that it is his duty to light the lamps of the church.” (From The Use of Lights in Christian Worship by D.R. Dendy, page 80.)

These days, serving as an acolyte is a way for young people to participate in the liturgical life of the church. We thank all those who have taken time to serve us in this special ministry.


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