During the Institution of Lectors, Bishop O'Connell hands a Bible to a deacon candidate, designating him a lector. Courtesy photo
During the Institution of Lectors, Bishop O'Connell hands a Bible to a deacon candidate, designating him a lector. Courtesy photo
Twenty-six men who are preparing to serve as future deacons in the Diocese of Trenton took significant steps forward in their journeys to ordination.

During a Dec. 11 Mass in St. Ann Church, Lawrenceville, Bishop David M. O’Connell, C.M., presided over three rites that are pertinent in the diaconate formation process.

In the Rite of Candidacy, the Bishop admitted 11 men as deacon candidates to prepare to receive the Sacrament of Holy Orders upon completing five years of formal study. The Rite of Candidacy signaled the end of a period of aspirancy, which began last year, during which the men sought to discern whether they were being called to the diaconate, learned what to expect in the formation process and more about the life of a deacon.

Photo Gallery: Bishop celebrates Mass for deacon candidates

For the remaining 15 men, the Bishop presided over the Rite of Institution of Lectors and Acolytes. Through their installation as lectors, candidates are commissioned to proclaim the Readings, except for the Gospel, during the Liturgy of the Word at Mass and other liturgical celebrations. Acolytes are instituted to serve at the altar and to assist the priest and deacon, and as special ministers to give Holy Communion to the faithful at the liturgy and to the sick.

“These are important ceremonial moments in the life and formation of our permanent deacon candidates,” said Bishop O’Connell. “The Diocese is blessed to have such wonderful men who have so generously responded to their vocation. It was such a joy to be with them and their wives and to pray together, especially in this time of pandemic.”

The Bishop extended his appreciation to diocesan Office of Clergy and Consecrated Life staff, Msgr. Thomas J. Mullelly, episcopal vicar, and Sister of St. Joseph Rose McDermott, delegate for Consecrated Life for the “instruction and preparation they give in our permanent diaconate program.”

Check back with TrentonMonitor.com this week for more reporting on this event.