An ACOLYTE is someone whose business it is to make others’ lives easier. An acolyte is a helper, an assistant – which, in the Kingdom of God is the position of highest honor, the place our Lord himself took among his friends. In worship, acolytes have the greatest variety of tasks to do – which makes for more things to remember, but also the most interesting jobs! The basic duty of an acolyte is to do his or her assigned tasks, and also be alert for whatever else might need to be done to make the service ‘flow’ better. Here are some of the things acolytes are trained to do:
- Put on the vestments appropriate to your job.
- Pray for God’s help in doing your jobs in worship.
- Light the candles on and behind the altar before the service, reverently, competently and in the proper order.
- Carry the cross, or some other item, in the procession to worship.
- Pray, sing and listen attentively during worship, helping the other worship leaders to lead the congregation.
- Participate in any of the transitions within worshp, like reading the Gospel or moving to the altar at the offertory.
- Receive the offerings of bread and wine and money when they are brought up by the oblation-bearers.
- Carry the oblations (bread, wine and water) to the priest during the eucharist.
- Pour the water to wash the priest’s hands.
- Assist in other ways at the distribution of communion.
- Extinguish the candles at the close of the service.
- Carry the cross or other items out in the recessional.
Anne Bardol, the master of acolytes at Holy Cross, is a very good teacher and experienced in training young people for this ministry. It’s a great way to be involved in worship at your church, and fun too. If you would like to become an acolyte, just let us know.