Every time I receive a new Ministry here the Seminary, no matter how much my classmates and I are celebrated and congratulated, I’ve learned more and more that it’s not about me. When I received Candidacy last year and officially became a candidate for Holy Orders, I quickly learned that more than anything it was a firmer call to service. Some of you made it up here when I became an instituted Lector, and you saw me make a deeper commitment to the word of God, which is turning my life upside down in wonderful ways everyday. And then there was this weekend, when some more of you came to be with me as I was called to become an Acolyte, and so I was called to a more profound love and sharing of the Eucharist.
A couple of things really struck me this weekend about having you here to share this special time with all of us (and to know those of you who couldn’t make it we’re praying pretty hard for us too). First of all, to know I have all your prayers and that some of you could actually be here for me was such a joy. I think about how I’m called to ministry and called to be a leader and all of that. And so often I’m told that what’s happening when I’m with you all is that I’m “ministering” to you. To an extent that is true, but yes, there are friendships too. I’m “there for you” on so many parts of your faith journey: retreats, camps, Confirmations, Adoration, Mass. But I really am so grateful that this time around, through your being here and through your prayers, that you were “there for me.” Yes, the minister needs to be supported too, and for you all I’m that much more thankful. Having some of you here for me made the connection between what happens here at the Seminary and what happens “out there” so real.
Another thought I have is about what it means to be an Acolyte now. It’s now a few days since I was called into this new ministry, and I haven’t really done anything to exercise it yet, or so I had been thinking. I was getting kind of impatient, wanting to serve at Mass, wanting to help out with Adoration. Then it dawned on me this morning, wondering when I was going to get a chance to put my new ministry to good use: It’s not all about putting on the vestments and being out in front of everyone, leading so clearly. This is at its foundation a ministry of prayer. We’re exercising our ministry every time we put ourselves before the Blessed Sacrament, every time we receive Communion, even every time we set our hearts to praying for all of you and your own growing love for the mystery that is the Eucharist. We’re putting our ministry to good use when we seriously approach the same mystery in our studies, when we dive into Scripture, when we constantly ask the questions: why would Jesus do this for us? Who are we that he would love us this way? How can we be worthy? Our ministry is not always so obvious as serving at Mass or preparing Adoration. It is not just something we do, but someone we are. It is in our prayer, in our studies, in the questions we ask.
And having some of you there and knowing the rest of you were holding us up in prayer was as clear a sign a there could be: I do what I do, I am who am, because of you all, for you all.