Georgia Bulletin

The Newspaper of the Catholic Archdiocese of Atlanta


Diaconal Class Of 2007 Instituted As Readers, Acolytes

By LORIS R. SINANIAN, Special Contributor | Published May 13, 2004

On the eve of the celebration of St. Patrick, 15 men in the diaconal formation class of 2007 took a major step in their progress toward ordination to the order of deacon at St. Matthew’s Church. The candidates were instituted as readers and acolytes in a rite celebrated by Archbishop John F. Donoghue and concelebrated by priests representing the 13 parishes of the men instituted.

This significant step appoints the men to a ministry of the church. As readers and acolytes, they assist as needed at the altar, assisting the deacon and ministering to the priest. The acolytes also distribute Communion as auxiliary ministers at the Mass as well as to the sick. Additionally, they may be entrusted with exposing the Blessed Sacrament for adoration and, as needed, instructing altar servers in their functions during the celebration of the Mass.

Those instituted were: John Barone of Prince of Peace Church, Buford; Stephen Demko of Holy Spirit Church, Atlanta; Stan Ford of St. Catherine of Siena Church, Kennesaw; Robert Gregerson of Our Lady of the Assumption Church, Atlanta; Curtis Marsh of St. Matthew Church, Winder; Greg Ollick of St. John Neumann Church, Lilburn; Scott Parker of St. Gabriel Church, Fayetteville; Gayle Peters of St. Matthew Church, Tyrone; Bruce Reed of St. Joseph Church, Marietta; Etienne Rodriguez of St. Philip Benizi Church, Jonesboro; Bill Simmons of St. Anthony Church, Atlanta; Scott Sparks of St. Peter Chanel Church, Roswell; Thomas Stonecipher of St. Philip Benizi Church, Jonesboro; Allen Underwood of Holy Spirit Church, Atlanta; and James Williams of St. Michael the Archangel Church, Woodstock.

Deacon Loris R. Sinanian, director of diaconal formation, presented the men to Archbishop Donoghue, who instructed the men in his homily prior to their formal institution.

The archbishop reminded them that “the purpose of those who see and accept Holy Orders is to gather the prayers and works of the faithful people, to unite them to the perfect sacrifice of Jesus Christ, and trusting in the mystery of God’s love, hold before the faithful the hope of salvation and of life to come.”

Archbishop Donoghue has been emphatic in his instructions during both ordinations and institutions of the duties of all ordained ministers, priests and deacons, “to preach what the church teaches—in the catechism, the writings of the Holy Fathers and doctors, the councils, the inspired works of the saints . . .”

He continued his instruction, saying, “The people of God do not want to hear ‘speculation’ about things involving the fate of their souls . . . they want to know that what they hear agrees with the highest authority available to mankind—the voice of the Holy Spirit, expressed through our holy Catholic Church.”

After stressing the importance of the sacrifice of the Mass, “the new prayer of mankind’s salvation,” and the need to prayerfully care for it and preserve it, and keep the words of Jesus, “do this in memory of me,” in their hearts always, he turned to everyone in the congregation and said, “these men, seeking the institution of readers and acolytes, begin now the formation of their minds and their hearts, in order to keep this command and to become one day, permanent deacons of this holy church. It is a blessing they receive, and it is a blessing we receive, to know them and call them our friends.”