In just over a week, the decree of the Polish Bishops’ Conference will come into force, which allows the service of a permanent language and acolyte also for women. This means that they will be able to assist during the liturgy, to read Sacred Scripture and to give communion to the faithful in special circumstances. On Friday, the episcopate presented the content of the document and the requirements for candidates for admission to the ministry.
On Friday, the Polish Bishops’ Conference announced a decree on the permanent language and acolyte for women. The legal promulgation of the decree, i.e. its announcement, which is usually a condition for its entry into force, was performed by the KEP by placing it on the official website of the Polish Episcopal Conference.
The decree will come into force on December 12.
Women will be able to give communion
“The general decree of the Polish Bishops ‘Conference on the age and qualities of candidates for the service of a permanent language and acolyte who are not candidates for ordination” was issued by the Polish Bishops’ Conference on June 11, 2021.
We read in the document that in connection with the Apostolic Letter in the form of the motu proprio “Spiritus Domini” of Pope Francis “on the change of canon 230 § 1 of the Code of Canon Law on the admission of women to the official lectorate and acolyte ministry”, the EESC determines the age and qualities of people who are to accept the service of a permanent language course and acolyte.
An acolyte is a person appointed to assist a priest and deacon in the celebration of the liturgy. She can give Holy Communion in special situations – when an ordained person cannot do it or with a very large number of people willing to receive the Eucharist.
In addition, her tasks include, inter alia, serving in the celebration of mass and other liturgical activities; preparation of the altar; exposition and burying the Blessed Sacrament; carrying the cross and candles in the procession of entry that begins the mass; in the absence of a deacon, incensing the priest and the faithful or assisting in incensing gifts, altar or cross, as well as assisting in receiving gifts or purifying and organizing liturgical vessels.
Until 1972, the acolyte in the Church was the last of the four so-called minor orders, conferred only on candidates for the priesthood. After the entry into force of the motu proprio “Ministeria quaedam” of Pope Paul VI of August 15, 1972, lay men were admitted to this ministry. From January 11 this year, Pope Francis in the motu proprio “Spiritus Domini” allowed women to this ministry.
The language course entitles you to read the Holy Scriptures during the mass.
Applicants and applicants will have to be at least 25 years old
The authors of the document published on Friday by the Polish Bishops’ Conference stated that “this decree applies to persons who are not candidates for ordination”.
They also emphasized that “because of the important tasks that the Church entrusts to the established permanent lectors and acolytes, and because of the permanence of these services, the service of permanent language and acolyte may be granted to candidates and candidates who have reached the age of 25”.
Requirements for regular teachers and acolytes
Its authors added that candidates for the service of a permanent lector and acolyte should be, first of all, baptized confirmed persons. Moreover, they must “have an exemplary moral life, apostolic devotion, selflessness, sincere piety and a zealous sacramental life, a special love for the Holy Scriptures and the Eucharist, and a spirit of obedience to the Church.”
“They must also have appropriate intellectual qualities, sufficient knowledge about this service in the Church, be solid at work and the ability to cooperate with others. They must enjoy a good reputation and be accepted by the faithful of the community to which they belong and in which they will perform the tasks entrusted to them. “- the authors of the document reserved.
They added that for the fulfillment of their duties, candidates for these ministries should be “prepared by an appropriate formation.”
The press office of the KEP also informed that, in accordance with the letter of Pope Francis of January 10, 2021 to the prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith on the admission of women to the lectorate and acolyte ministries, the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments is to issue an appropriately modified Latin edition of the “Rites of the Institution of Lectors and acolytes “, which will allow to prepare the Polish version.