Altar boys arrive in procession during a mass celebrated by Pope Benedict XVI to commemorate cardinals and bishops who died this year, in St. Peter's Basilica at the Vatican November 3, 2011. REUTERS/Tony Gentile (VATICAN - Tags: RELIGION TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY)

The Installation of Acolytes

The minor orders are import, because they are the steps towards priesthood. They prepare a person towards the ministry of priesthood. That is why one is installed to these minor orders while he is still in formation stage in order that he is able to practise these ministries fully. Last term it was the installation of lectors and now this semester in preparation for internship, there was installation of acolytes. These ministries are installed to people who are doing second year of theology in St. John Vianney seminary. These installations forms put of the formation stage of the seminary.

The seminary stages are about to come to an end if one approaches the altar. In 18 May 2016 I was installed as a lector and my work was to proclaim the word of God. Now, I have being installed as an acolyte on 26 0ctober 2016, this mean that I must assist the bishop, priest and deacons at the altar. It also means to help distributing communion to the faithful and the sick. During the installation the bishop give us the challis that has the wine and the bread as a sign to work closer to the Eucharist. This is a sign that we need to prepare the altar for the celebration of the Eucharist.

His excellence Bishop Victor Palane of the diocese of Klerksdoorp was the one who installed us to this ministry of acolytes. There were about 18 brothers or seminarians who were installed. This is the minor order that leads to deaconate. It is significance to us as we about to go for internship. Ministry of acolyte is the last minor order that leads to the ordination. It was a great joy, as it is a step closer towards the ordination.


The Installation of Lectors

In the seminary we have different stages that a seminarian should undergo. When start his theology he is to be accepted as candidate to priesthood. This is a stage or step that one receives as to show that now is getting closer to priesthood or of becoming a priest. During the later stages of his formation he will also be installed in different ministries. Here at St. John Vianney seminary, when a student reach his second year of theology studies he is installed in these different ministries to prepare him for his pastoral internship that take place during his third year of theology studies. Those different ministries are lector and acolyte.

This year as one student (Sepatala Ntefane) of the diocese of Bethlehem I was installed in the ministry of Lectors. The installation took place at St. John Vianney Seminary, by Bishop Zungu of Port Elizabeth diocese. This event took place on 18 May 2016. It was a moment of taking a step feather. It was a wonderful experience, knowing that one has achieved a certain step in life of priesthood. This meant that one is getting closer and closer to his vocation of priesthood. A lector is someone who is made an official proclaimer of God’s word. He is a reader of God’s word and he can even preach or share the word of God. He is installed by his Bishop or by his superior (if he is a religious). The church entrust you to proclaim the word of God. To be installed as a lector, one needs to apply to his Bishop, and as a result Ntefane Sepatala did apply to his bishop (Bishop Jan De Groef) and the reply was positive or was granted a go ahead by his Bishop. This is to show that no one forced you, but you chose it freely and willingly. It is a great joy.


Being a Seminarian of the Diocese of Bethlehem in 2016

Another year has dawned on us. While 2016 started on a very saddening note with the passing of Fr Mpho Mona, a time came for us as seminarians to roll up our sleeves and get back to business. It was time to take another academic year head on. We were also encouraged by seeing one of our brothers, Rev Lerato Mokoena, get ordained a Deacon at Holy Ghost Cathedral on the 21st of December 2015. This event helped to be more focused on the goal to which we are aspiring. It was also a moment of reflection to see how far we have come and how the Lord has been good to us.

From the 3rd to the 5th of January 2016 we met with our Bishop, Ntate Jan de Groef, and Fr Mosebetsi at JPII centre. This is an annual get together at which things range from discussion and presentation sessions, to one on one meetings with the Bishop, to relaxing with snacks and cool-drinks. This time serves to keep seminarians abreast about the diocese and ensures that they feel connected with the diocese at all times. It is a very informative time that also strengthens the bond between brothers and their fathers. This time around there was another twist to this wonderful time. Vocations groups came to meet us as well. They joined us for Mass and then we had a meeting with them after Lunch on the 4th of January. They gave us a glimpse of what they as the people of God think and expect of us as seminarians. It was indeed a great time for everyone involved.


Having come back to the seminary we all went to the semester retreat at different places according to   our classes. Upon our return we had orientation and classes started. On the 17th of February something very special happened. The seminary had a feast to celebrate two things. Firstly, it was the installation of the new rector who took office on the 1st of January 2016. Then it was the acceptance to candidacy of the brothers who are starting their theology this year. We are proud that the diocese of Bethlehem had three brothers accepted as candidates to Holy Orders; namely, Thabiso Matabane, Sabata Hoseas Makibi and Paballo Cedric Skhotha. We congratulate them on getting this far. May the God who brought them this far carry them through their whole seminary formation.


Article by
Br Tumelo Stephen Mohlaping