The generation that experienced Mass before the Vatican II council may recall that it was common to refer to "Altar Boys" as Acolytes which still carries some similarities today. The Acolyte is to assist the Priest and Deacon in the celebration of the Eucharist and other liturgies such as funerals, weddings and baptisms. As an "altar server" the Acolyte processes with the crucifix or candles, assists with the wine, bread and water and directing the other altar servers. He may also assist at the altar during the Eucharistic prayer and purify the sacred communion vessels.
One of the elements that differ between an Instituted Acolyte and altar server is that this Institute is a faculty for men studying as Priests and Deacons. Also, it is a rite that is permanent yet will be exercised for a period of one year as the Acolyte prepares for ordination as a Deacon. In addition to assisting at liturgies the Acolyte is installed as an extraordinary Eucharistic minister.
Being that this is the Acolytes pastoral year, he will be more visible at liturgies and experiencing the needs of the community, visiting at schools, attending ministry meetings and getting the pulse of the parish in preparation for his clerical vocation. This is a time when he can take the precious gift of the living flesh of our Lord to the sick and poor and also offer them pastoral support for their needs. "The Rite of Acolyte has brought me to a grace that I could never imagine a grace that God has waiting for all those who seek Him".
We cannot be taught to receive grace from God, it comes from serving, freely giving your time, talent and treasure, gifts that all of us have. Bringing yourself into the presence of God through reconciliation, the Eucharist and daily prayer are all essential elements to living a good Christian life; however we should not overlook the needs of our church and the poor when we are given many talents to help them. You are blest with the love of Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior; "He came to serve and not to be served", it is in this way that we too are living our baptismal promise as disciples of God.