Diocesan seminarians receive the ministry of acolyte

Eighteen priesthood students at Saint Meinrad Seminary and School of Theology in St. Meinrad, Ind., including three from the Diocese of Knoxville, received the ministry of acolyte on Feb. 18, in the seminary’s St. Thomas Aquinas Chapel.

The seminarians receiving the ministry from the Diocese of Knoxville were Joseph Austin, Neil Blatchford, and Andrew Crabtree. St. Meinrad president-rector Father Denis Robinson, OSB, installed the acolytes.

Mr. Austin, Mr. Blatchford, and Mr. Crabtree are among 15 Diocese of Knoxville men currently in seminary.

An acolyte assists a deacon or priest, primarily in the celebration of Mass. He attends to the needs of the altar and may distribute Communion as an auxiliary minister. He also may be entrusted with the public veneration of the Blessed Sacrament, but does not give the benediction, which is reserved for a priest or deacon.

The ministry of acolyte is one of the final rites of passage for seminarians before they are ordained to the priesthood. The next step, typically in another year, is ordination to the transitional diaconate.

Mr. Austin’s home parish is St. Dominic in Kingsport; Mr. Blatchford’s home parish is the Cathedral of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus in Knoxville; and Mr. Crabtree’s home parish is St. Mary in Athens.

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