Candidates for permanent diaconate installed as acolytes at cathedral

Allegra Thatcher, Assistant Editor.

Bishop Roger Foys installed 16 candidates for the permanent diaconate to the ministry of acolyte Feb 7 at the 10 a.m. Mass at the Cathedral Basilica of the Assumption. Three candidates were from parishes in the Diocese of Covington and the remaining 13 from the Archdiocese of Cincinnati. The candidates for the permanent diaconate for the Diocese of Covington are Kevin Cranley, St. Timothy Parish, Union; Adam Feinauer, St. Agnes Parish, Ft. Wright; Eric Ritchie, Holy Cross Parish, Latonia; and Tom Murrin, St. Philip Parish, Melbourne, who was unable to attend.

During Mass, the candidates were presented to Bishop Foys. He urged them to be faithful to the call they have received: “In performing your ministry, bear in mind that as you share the one bread with your brothers and sisters, so you form one body with them, show a sincere love for Christ’s Mystical Body, God’s holy people, especially the weak and the sick. Be obedient to the commandment which the Lord gave to his apostles at the Last Supper: ‘Love one another as I have loved you.’”

Bishop Foys presented each candidate with a ciborium containing bread. As each candidate knelt, clasping the ciborium Bishop Foys said, “Take this vessel with bread for the celebration of the Eucharist. Make your life worthy of your service at the table of the Lord and of his Church.”

Eric Ritchie prepares to kneel before Bishop Foys.

The ministry of acolyte, Bishop Foys shared, was decreed by Pope St. Paul VI in 1973 for lay ministers such as those preparing for the permanent diaconate as well as its traditional office as a step toward ordination to the priesthood. The acolyte assists bishops, priests and deacons at the altar, performing the ministry of deacon when the deacon isn’t present. He also serves as an Extraordinary Minister of Holy Communion.

Bishop Foys praised the great service permanent deacons perform for the Diocese of Covington, calling them “indispensable.” He asked the faithful, as beneficiaries of their ministry, to pray for them, “that the Lord will reward them for responding to his call.”

In his homily, he reflected on the story of Job and his inexhaustible faith, suggesting that everyone look to Job during times of suffering as an example of faith and love of God.

“Job loses everything,” he said. “He’s brought down as low as anyone could possibly be brought down. (And yet) He refuses to curse God.”

He reflected on how many people have suffered in the last 11 months due to the pandemic “turning life upside down,” but suggested that it has been an opportunity for growth in faith. “So we can say with Job: ‘I have been assigned months of misery, and troubled night have been allotted to me. … My days come to an end without hope. I shall never see happiness again.’ We can feel that way. Job felt that way. But what saved him? His faith. His faith in God, even though his friends and his wife pushed him to strike out at God.”

Adam Feinauer is presented to Bishop Foys.

It was Job’s love of God and his relationship with God that enabled him to suffer without turning on God, said Bishop Foys. That should also be our response when faced with difficulties. He alluded to the Sunday Gospel, in which Jesus goes alone to pray in the early morning after a long and hard day.

“We cannot on our own solve every problem. We need the Lord,” he said. “So in stressful times, in difficult times when we can’t find the answers, we do what we should be doing every day anyway: we seek out the Lord. Jesus teaches us how to live. If it was good enough for him, to go and seek the Father in prayer, how important is that for us? When we take things to the Lord, and when we listen, we will be amazed what the Lord will speak to us in our hearts.”

Staying connected to the Lord is crucial, Bishop Foys said. “Take a lesson from Job and from Jesus to never let our faith in God waiver, no matter what. Pray, spend time with him. And listen.”