14 Deacon Candidates Now Acolytes
By Amanda Hudson, News Editor
September 3, 2020
ROCKFORD—Members of the Permanent Diaconate Class of 2020 were admitted to the ministry of acolyte on Saturday morning, Aug. 29 at the Cathedral of St. Peter.
Father Kenneth Wasilewski, director of the permanent diaconate for the diocese, teased the men a bit beforehand about the “new rubrics” in place, for example to “Stand. Come up. Sanitize.” 
Social distancing was practiced, masks were worn throughout and only the candidates’ immediate family — mostly only their spouses — were present.
The role of a deacon as an acolyte is to serve the priest at the altar, preparing the altar and vessels of bread and wine and holding forth the chalice after the consecration. Part of the rite this year included having each man come forward to simply touch a ciborium filled with bread for the Eucharistic sacrifice instead of taking the vessel into their hands. 
Father Wasilewski wiped off the ciborium after each candidate came forward to receive it from Msgr. Glenn Nelson, vicar general, who had been designated by Bishop David Malloy to install the men as acolytes. 
In his remarks, Msgr. Nelson shared a few thoughts about the Gospel of the day on the feast of the beheading of John the Baptist. 
“Truth will always win, even if the civil government cuts our head off, the truth always wins,” Msgr. Nelson said. “And that’s really what calls us forward knowing that it is Christ, who is the way, the truth and the life; He himself is that Truth ... it spurs us on to sacrifice.
“Now you are stepping closer to ordination, now today you are going to be taking that bread, which will become the body, blood, soul and divinity of Jesus Christ that nourishes us in the truth.” 
After expressing his pleasure at being designated to receive them into the position of acolyte, Msgr. Nelson told them, “I know you can’t see it, but I am smiling,” removing his mask for two seconds to show them his big grin before putting it back on for the conclusion of the ceremony.
The candidates are scheduled to be ordained as permanent deacons on 
Sept. 26.
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