Hawaiian seminarians make great strides on the path to the priesthood

Seminarians in Hawaii gather for a group photo in the chapel of St. Patrick’s Seminary Oct. 24 following the installation of one in the ministry of lector and another in the ministry of acolyte. Left to right, Deacon Arrion Rosales (fourth-year theology), Taylor Mitchell (second-year theology), Kurt Meyer (third-year theology), Anthony “AJ” Poore (first-year theology), Anthony Tran (theology of third year), Preston Castro (third year of theology) and Francis Hai Pham (third year of theology). (Photo courtesy of Anthony Tran)

Two Hawaiian seminarians studying at St. Patrick’s Seminary and University in Menlo Park, Calif., achieved major milestones in their training Oct. 24. Anthony Poore received the Minor Order of Reader and Taylor Mitchell received the Minor Order of Acolyte.

Meanwhile, in Wisconsin, Honolulu seminarian John Akau received the ministry of acolyte Oct. 26 at Sacred Heart Seminary and School of Theology in Hales Corners. Akau was one of four seminarians installed in this ministry. The others come from the dioceses of Saginaw, Springfield-Cape Girardeau and Pensacola-Tallahassee. Below are Mitchell’s thoughts on this latest development in his training.

Whose turn is it to do the dishes?

By Taylor K. Mitchell
Special for the Herald

It’s funny how so many elements of our daily lives are reflected in our liturgy.

I remember we argued with my brother when we were growing up about whose job it was to set the table and do the dishes. Now my seminarian brothers and I have a schedule that tells us that, but otherwise nothing else has changed.

On October 24, as part of my continuing priesthood formation, I was installed as an acolyte by Archbishop Alexander Sample of Portland, Oregon. The installation took place here at St. Patrick’s Seminary Chapel in Menlo Park, California.

The duties of the acolyte include service at the altar, assisting the priest and deacon. An acolyte’s job is primarily to prepare the altar and sacred vessels, to act as a Eucharistic minister when necessary, and to help purify the sacred vessels after Communion.

When I explained to my mother that I was going to be a sidekick, I described it as becoming an official altar boy, and she asked me, “Haven’t you been doing this for years already?” And she’s right – I served at Mass for many years. Same with my setup as a reader last year – I had been reading for years already.

So what’s different about being ordained to these ministries, especially if we’ve been doing them forever?

I find that during my training journey, I come back again and again to things I already know, but with an invitation to know them again on a deeper level. So now I’ve started washing the dishes again after the meal – but it’s no longer a simple supper, but rather the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.

My job at the celestial banquet is to do the dishes – and I couldn’t be more grateful for this honor.

Taylor Mitchell is a second-year theology student preparing for the priesthood for the Diocese of Honolulu at St. Patrick’s Seminary and University in Menlo Park, California.

Honolulu seminarian John Akau and three others were installed in acolyte ministry Oct. 26 at Sacred Heart Seminary and School of Theology in Hales Corners, Wisconsin. Pictured from left are Akau, Dan Christe (Diocese of Saginaw), Bishop Christophe Pierre, Apostolic Nuncio to the United States, and President, Father Raul Gomez-Ruiz, President-Rector of Sacred Heart Seminary, Daniel Dunn (Diocese of Springfield-Cape Girardeau) and Randy Recker (Diocese of Pensacola-Tallahassee). (Photo courtesy of Sacred Heart Seminary and School of Theology)

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