The 28 men preparing to become permanent deacons in the Diocese of Sacramento took the next step toward their ordination on Sept. 9, when they were instituted in the ministry of acolyte after three years of study. Bishop Jaime Soto presided at the Rite of Acolyte in St. Mel Church in Fair Oaks.
The acolyte assists the priest or deacon in the liturgy: setting of the tables, making sure the altar is organized correctly, to prepare wine and water for the sacrifice of the Mass, to assist sacred ministers at the Mass and other public services of the church.
Over the past three years, the men in formation for the deaconate have been instituted as candidates and then as lectors. After they are installed as acolytes, the next step is ordination in June 2018.
The permanent diaconate is an ordained ministry. Unlike transitional deacons, who typically are men destined for the priesthood and therefore are celibate, permanent deacons may be married. They perform various sacramental functions such as weddings without a Mass, funerals and baptisms; they also assist at the Eucharistic liturgy.
For more information about the permanent diaconate in the Diocese of Sacramento, visit https://www.scd.org/clergy-formation/permanent-diaconate