On Friday evening, 19 July, a number of our deacons and their wives, along with our diaconal students in formation, gathered at the Church of the Immaculate Conception, Stroud, to celebrate admission to the Ministry of Reader of two of our students – Eric Holliday and Richard Mills – within a beautiful Mass where Mgr Liam Slattery presided and preached.
The front of the liturgy booklet told us:
This Ministry of Reader reminds those who are admitted, as it does the whole Church, of a need to be attentive to God’s word. Christ has given his Church the mission of proclaiming Good News to the whole world and, instituted as Readers, Eric and Richard are tasked with something of that same mission. This ministry isn’t simply about reading at Mass; they also have to be bearers of God’s word in the way they live their lives. The Rite of Institution speaks of them being at the service of faith. That means that the word they listen to, the word that feeds their prayer, the word they meditate upon and the word they read has to flow into a ministry of catechesis – an echoing of that word. Pope Francis calls catechists the ‘memory of God’ and so, by being instituted as readers, both men are challenged to hand onto others what they themselves have received. It doesn’t mean they teach what they fancy or that they teach something of their own making: they teach what has been handed onto them, faithfully guarding the treasure of faith so that many can come to a living, loving encounter with the person of Jesus through them. Through this Ministry Eric and Richard are invited to know Christ so that they can be authentic in their revealing of Christ through the lives they lead. They are not simply readers of the word, but hearers of the word, proclaimers of the word and doers of the word.
It is Christ who sits at the heart of this ministry and Christ who has to sit at the heart and centre of all those who give themselves in service of his people.
Following the Mass we all gathered in the parish hall for refreshments.
Please keep Richard and Eric, all our students and all those who are currently in formation for ministry, in your prayers, that they will be faithful, sincere and loving in all they do..