The ministry of acolytes comes from ancient times, beginning as early as
250 CE. When an acolyte today lights a candle or carries the cross, they enter the tradition of people who have loved and served God and the church for more than 17 centuries.
How You Can Get Involved:
- Youth age 6th grade and up and adults are invited to serve.
- Adult acolytes are particularly needed to support the 11:15 a.m. service.
- Contact stmarysacolytes@gmail.
com to learn more.
Did you know?
Acolytes are mentioned as a minor order as early as a letter of Pope Cornelius to Fabius of Antioch in 252. They were also mentioned in Cyprian’s writings. They assisted deacons or subdeacons at the preparation of the table. Later they carried candles in processions. In Rome, they carried fragments of the bread consecrated at the papal Mass to other churches. In the late middle ages, when candles began to appear upon altars, they lighted the altar candles. Eventually, lay servers or sacristans performed duties earlier associated with acolytes, and the order of acolyte was normally conferred upon a candidate for priesthood in the course of his training. The minor orders were not perpetuated in Anglicanism. Some of the duties earlier performed by persons in the minor order of acolyte were taken over by lay clerks. In the later nineteenth century, the clerks were suppressed and their duties were largely taken over by lay “acolytes” and sacristans or altar guilds.