Catholic Diocese of Cleveland

1404 East 9th Street | Cleveland, Ohio 44114

Four permanent diaconate candidates instituted in Ministry of Acolyte

Four Cleveland area men in formation to become ordained as permanent deacons were installed in the Ministry of Acolyte by Bishop Nelson Perez during a Mass on Feb. 10 at St. Raphael Parish in Bay Village.

The men are:

  • Christopher J. De Penti from St. Columbkille Parish in Parma
  • Giovanni (John) E. Grazia, from Divine Word Parish in Kirtland
  • Matthew W. Harley, from St. Ambrose Parish in Brunswick
  • Thomas A. Shetina, from St. John Vianney Parish in Mentor.

They are in their third year of diaconate formation at the Center for Pastoral Leadership in Wickliffe. A candidate to become a permanent deacon commits to five years in formation prior to ordination.

In his homily, Bishop Perez spoke about the how these diaconal candidates were called to a deeper relationship of service to the altar. “These men had an encounter with Christ so intimate, so deep, hearing the voice of Christ calling them to ministry in the Church,” he said.

An acolyte is appointed in order to aid the deacon and to minister to the priest. He has the duty to attend to the service of the altar vested in a white alb and to assist the deacon and the priest in liturgical celebrations, especially the celebration of the Mass.

An acolyte distributes holy Communion as an extraordinary minister when ordinary ministers — priests or deacons — are not available or when the number of communicants is so great that the celebration of Mass would be unduly prolonged.

In the same extraordinary circumstances, an acolyte may be entrusted with publicly exposing the Blessed Sacrament for adoration by the faithful and afterward replacing it, but not with blessing the people. He may also, to the extent needed, take care of instructing the faithful who by temporary assignment assist the priest or deacon in liturgical celebrations by carrying the missal, cross, candles or performing other such duties.

A reception for the newly installed acolytes, their families, friends, the diaconate and St. Raphael parish communities took place after Mass.

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