The Ministries Mass: Elevating Seminarians Closer to the Priesthood
On March 10, 2021, at Mount Angel Abbey, 20 seminarians from Mount Angel Seminary moved a spiritual step closer in their journey to ordained priesthood.
The Most Reverend Liam Cary, Bishop of the Diocese of Baker, was the principal celebrant, instituting 14 men in the ministry of lector, and six in the ministry of acolyte. The seminarians represent 13 dioceses and two religious congregations.
Bishop Cary, reflecting on the story of Ezra (Nehemiah 8:1f.), reminded the seminarians that the Ministries Mass, like the scriptural account, focuses on the rediscovery of the Word of God. For the lector, he said, “The Word of God is entrusted to you personally – personally – in a significant way. The Word of God pierces to the heart. We have it in our hands every day, and we can lose sight of the miracle of this Word.”
“The Lord is already preparing my soul to receive the ineffable grace of priestly ordination. I take this ministry as an incredible act of God’s Love and Mercy,” said seminarian Benjamin Cowan, newly instituted as lector.
For the acolyte, Bishop Cary said, “After the Word is proclaimed, what is needed is silence to let the Word sink in, so that what we say is then manifest in what we do. Then comes the acolyte into play. The hands of the acolyte prepare the altar for sacrifice. The Lord is asking you – will you lend me your hands? You acolytes will receive not a book, but the paten with the bread for the Eucharist – the bread of sacrifice.”
Seminarian James Ladd said of his institution as acolyte, “[It] draws me closer to Christ, his Church, his people, and allows for a deeper spiritual connection to the mysteries of our faith.”
Instituted into the ministry of lector were: Edward Burke, Archdiocese of Anchorage-Juneau; Benjamin Clayton Cowan, Archdiocese of Portland in Oregon; Luke Foley Daniel, Archdiocese of Anchorage-Juneau; John Robert Dyson, Diocese of Boise; Br. Michael Ferman, O.S.B., St. Martin’s Abbey; Br. Francis Lai, C.S.J.B., Congregation of St. John the Baptist; William Michael Lane, Diocese of Yakima; Matthew Leung, Diocese of Orange; Edgar Yair Lozano Cuevas, Diocese of Sacramento; Thomas Kevin Malone, Diocese of Boise; Maximiliano Muñoz, Archdiocese of Seattle; Martín de Jesus Ortega Ascencio, Diocese of Fresno; Kyler John Voegele, Diocese of Reno; and Bryan Walman, Diocese of Baker. All are in their first year of theology and will be called upon to be ministers of the Word of God and proclaim it during the Liturgy of the Eucharist in the coming months.
Instituted into the ministry of acolyte were: Marc Andrew Gandolfo, Diocese of San Diego; Marc Robert-James Jenkins, Archdiocese of Seattle; James Patrick Webb Ladd, Archdiocese of Portland in Oregon; Anthony Scott Shumway, Diocese of Salt Lake City; Joseph Vu, Archdiocese of Portland in Oregon; and Michael Williams, Diocese of Las Vegas. All are in their second year of theology and will be called upon to be ministers of the Eucharist and serve the altar during the Liturgy of the Eucharist in the coming months.
Mount Angel Seminary, established in 1889 by the pioneer monks of Mount Angel Abbey, is the oldest and largest seminary in the western United States. It is the only seminary in the West that offers full college, pre-theology, and graduate theology programs, and one of only a few in the nation that offers degrees at all levels, baccalaureate through doctorate. Students experience exceptional academic instruction in a deeply spiritual, prayerful, and formative environment.