Staff Report – Vatican City
Diocese of Venice Seminarian Alexander Pince was received into the Ministry of Acolyte during a Feb. 24 Mass on Vatican City.
Pince was one of 43 seminarians from Pontifical North American College to receive this honor in the College Chapel of the Immaculate Conception from Most. Rev. Steven J. Lopes, Bishop of the Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter.
During his homily, Bishop Lopes stressed the importance of Christ’s love as a measure for our lives noting that Jesus Christ is “a love without conditions, a love without limits, a love that was willing to give all; that is the love that is revealed in God, in Christ.”
Bishop Lopes told the newly instituted acolytes that this ministry, “as understood in the context of this seminary, is a ritual step toward ordination. It is a ritual drawing near to the altar, the love by which you draw nearer today, changes us. It transfigures us. It accomplishes is us what you and I, humanly speaking, could never ask or even imagine. And so we love differently. We are changed by the sacramental outpouring of grace. Because at the altar we know ourselves to be loved in a way that is unimaginable. This is the heart of the Christian Faith. This is the heart of the Gospel itself.”
As part of the Rite, the Bishop placed the paten, which contains the hosts for the celebration of Mass, in the hands of each candidate. He then said, “take this vessel with bread for the celebration of the Eucharist. Make your life worthy of your service at the table of the Lord and His Church.”
The seminarians, currently in their second year of formation for the priesthood, would have two additional years of theological studies before being ordained to the priesthood in their home Dioceses.
The Pontifical North American College serves as the American Seminary in Rome. Founded in 1859 by Blessed Pius IX, the college has formed more than 5,000 priests.