We can be as young as ten and as old as ninety. We lead the processions into the sanctuary and later we lead the recessionals out. The thurifer is responsible for keeping the incense burning and for swinging the thurible at the head of the processions, sending frankincense into the air, making the way ready for the clergy, most particularly for the celebrant. The torchbearers carry flaming candles on either side of the crucifer who raises the processional cross high, the stunning symbol of our Faith.
We are fortunate at Saint Peter’s to have a Master of Ceremonies, an experienced acolyte who teaches the younger ones, and aids in making the entire liturgy flow smoothly. He will ensure the altar candles are lit and later snuffed out. He will ensure the priest has the missal turned to the right page.
Acolytes help in many ways on the altar, always quietly and reverently, not drawing attention to themselves. We keep our hands folded when not in use and bow at appropriate times; we always genuflect when passing in front of the Blessed Sacrament reserved in the tabernacle. The thurifer censes the altar for the great Celebration of the Eucharist. Acolytes hold the cruets of wine and water for the celebrant, as well as the purifying towel.
Every action in the Holy Liturgy has a meaning, and acolytes act out these great meanings with care and skill.
We feel truly privileged to serve the Mass at Saint Peter’s and to thus help everyone take part in the Holy Eucharist.