By Barb Arland-Fye
FORT MADISON — Bishop Martin Amos blessed and installed 12 deacon candidates to the ministry of acolyte during Mass July 8 at Ss. Mary & Joseph Church. The rite marked a milestone on the men’s journey to ordination to the permanent diaconate. God willing, they will be ordained next year for the Diocese of Davenport, following their fifth and final year of formation and academic studies.
Before Mass, Bishop Amos thanked the 12 for their commitment, hard work and sacrifices. All are married and many work full-time in addition to serving their parishes, communities and families.
The instituted acolytes serve at the altar, including assisting the priest and deacon with the care of the sacred vessels and distributing Communion as extraordinary ministers if needed. As distinct from typical parish servers or extraordinary ministers of Communion, these men now exercise this ministry in a permanent way.
“Such simple food, but here it is to be transformed into the Bread of Life and the Chalice of Salvation,” Bishop Amos said during his homily, prior to the Rite of Installation into the Ministry of Acolyte.
The bishop noted that “when Pope Paul VI reformed the Minor Orders he said of the acolyte: ‘As one set aside in a special way for the service of the altar the acolyte should learn all matters concerning public divine worship.’ In other words, do the rites, right. But then the pope went on to say, ‘Strive to grasp their inner spiritual meaning.’”
By doing so the acolyte will be able to offer himself entirely to God each day, set an example of gravity and reverence in church, and express sincere love for the mystical body of Christ, the people of God, especially for the weak and the sick, Bishop Amos said.
In the Gospel reading for Sunday, July 8, the members of Jesus’ community lacked the faith to hear him or see his mighty deeds. The bishop encouraged all in the assembly to create an atmosphere receptive to faith. And to the newly installed acolytes, he said: “Certainly if you fulfill this ministry faithfully you help to create the atmosphere.…”
After Mass, each deacon candidate received the blessed books and pyxes that will be used to bring Communion to the homebound, sick and dying.
Deacon candidate Dave Sallen, a member of Holy Family Parish in Fort Madison, said it meant a great deal to him to be installed as an acolyte during Mass at the church where he was baptized. He said the rite reinforces his desire to continue bringing Communion to the prisoners at nearby Iowa State Penitentiary. “To be able to bring Christ to them from our parish here is really a joy. They are part of our parish,” he said.
Rites leading up to the diaconate have been celebrated at different parishes because the deacon candidates come from throughout the diocese.
Like many of his fellow deacon candidates, Ed Kamerick of St. Patrick Parish in Melrose said he sees the end in sight, but also acknowledges that ordination is not the conclusion of faith formation.
The ministry of the acolyte reminds deacon candidate Bob Glaser of Ss. John and Paul Parish in Burlington of the importance of being truly present to “those in need of the sacraments brought to their homes because of illness.”
Deacon candidate John Osborne of St. Mary Parish in Grinnell, who is a nurse, especially appreciates being entrusted with pastoral care of the sick.
The formation process itself has been an honor, said deacon candidate Bob Shaw of St. Paul the Apostle Parish in Davenport. He acknowledged the privilege of journeying with Deacon Class VI and their families, as well as the men and families no longer in the class. “Everyone inspires everyone.”
Reflecting on all that has happened and the work yet to be completed, deacon candidate Mark Comer of St. Joseph Parish in DeWitt observed “this has been an introspective week.” But, he added, it also feels like another step in the right direction.
Deacon candidates installed as acolytes
Twelve deacon candidates for the Diocese of Davenport were installed into the ministry of acolyte on July 8 at Ss. Mary & Joseph Church in Fort Madison.
The 12 are: Mark Comer of St. Joseph Parish in DeWitt; Derick Cranston of Holy Trinity Parish in Richmond, St. Mary Parish in Riverside and St. Joseph Parish in Wellman; Robert Glaser of Ss. John & Paul Parish in Burlington; Mitchell Holte of St. Mary Parish in Solon; Daniel Huber of Sacred Heart Cathedral in Davenport; Edwin Kamerick of St. Patrick Parish in Melrose; David Krob of St. Mary Parish in Solon; Dennis McDonald of Ss. Mary & Mathias Parish in Muscatine; John Osborne of St. Mary Parish in Grinnell; David Sallen of Holy Family Parish in Fort Madison; Robert Shaw of St. Paul the Apostle Parish in Davenport; and John Wagner of Our Lady of Victory Parish in Davenport.
New deacon class announced
The following men have been admitted to Class VII in the Deacon Formation Program for the Diocese of Davenport. Their first year of aspirancy will begin this August:
Terry Ball (spouse, Mona), St. Joseph Parish, Hills; Jim Barber (spouse, Chris), Holy Family Parish, Davenport; Steve Barton (spouse, Rosie), St. Paul the Apostle Parish, Davenport; Thomas Fennelly (spouse, Lisa), St. Paul the Apostle Parish, Davenport; Kent Ferris (spouse, Lori), Ss. Mary & Mathias Parish, Muscatine; Dan Freeman (spouse, Judy), St. Andrew Parish, Blue Grass; Rob Garber (spouse, Gena), Sacred Heart Parish, Newton; Tom Hardie (spouse, Mary), St. Anthony Parish, Knoxville; John Jacobsen (spouse, Tracy), St. Paul the Apostle Parish, Davenport; Chris Kabat (spouse, Julie), St. Wenceslaus Parish, Iowa City; Karl Lantzky (spouse, Kathy), St. Paul the Apostle Parish, Davenport; Joe Rohret (spouse, Tammy), St. Peter Parish, Cosgrove; Mike Snyder (spouse, Patty), Our Lady of Lourdes Parish, Bettendorf; Lowell Van Wyk (spouse, Denise), St. Mary Parish, Pella; and Joseph Welter (spouse, Katie), Newman Center, Iowa City.