From the Desk of Canon Olivier Meney, ICRSS


The 7 Steps of Ordination: Part II

 Exorcist and Acolyte

              As read in Part I, the six Minor and Major Orders, are training and preparations for the fulfillment of the great responsibility of assuming the Order of Melchisedech. The Porter assumes the care of keeping the grounds of the church safe before becoming the guardian of its most precious treasure, the Holy Eucharist. The Lector learned to familiarize himself with Holy Scripture before preaching them.

The third minor order, Exorcist, gives a real participation to the young apprentice of the power given to the priest to chase the devil. Every priest deals daily with the devil. His mission is to bring souls to Heaven and therefore to save them from the devil’s grip. They do so, in particular, as they baptize or give absolution in the Sacrament of Penance. Some priests are appointed by their bishop to be the exorcists of the diocese. Exorcism is a power bound to the Bishop.

The seminarian is therefore also invested with this power. He cannot use it publicly but nothing forbids him to use it privately. Father Berto offers the following traditional prayer learned as a seminarian “Ego ut Dei minister praecipio tibi, spiritus immunde, ut recedas ab hac creatura Dei, in Nomine Patris, et Filii et Spiritus Sancti” I, as a minister of God, order you evil spirit to leave this creature of God, in the name of the ….” Fr. Berto has testified of the great power of this prayer.

With the Order of Acolyte, the seminarian is lead to enter the Sanctuary. By ordination, he is committed to bring the “gifts”, bread and wine to the altar, to serve the celebrant in all his needs. Technically the ordered acolyte does not do anything more than any altar boy does…. And yet what he does is totally different, since he does it as a future priest, by mission, as “a minister of God”. The tradition of having male servers at Mass flows from this reality.


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