Bishop Brungardt installs Mark Brantley,
12 others, as acolytes
Father William B. Palardy, Rector and President of Blessed John XXIII Seminary (far right) welcomed Bishop John Brungardt to the seminary and thanked him for coming to bestow the Ministry of Acolyte on 13 First Theologians, including Diocese of Dodge City seminarian, Mark Brantley, center.
By DAVID MYERS
Southwest Kansas Register
Seminarian Mark Brantley struggled to find the words to describe the moment he took the chalice for the first time as a new acolyte, Dec. 9.
Brantley was among 13 seminarians at Blessed John XXIII National Seminary in Massachusetts installed as acolytes by the Most Rev. John B. Brungardt.
“It was the first time that we actually get to serve so close to Christ’s altar,” Brantley said. “As soon as we were instituted, they handed the chalice to me, and I took my place among the extraordinary ministers.
“It was a real moment,” he said softly. “It just has so much meaning, and of course I have this great love for the Eucharist. It was just an awe-inspiring moment.
“[At the time,] you want to stop and think about it,” he added with a chuckle, “but you have to continue serving Communion.”
Bishop Brungardt celebrated the Mass and instituted Brantley and the 12 other seminarians, each from dioceses across the United States: Atlanta, Albany, Boston, Pittsburg, Columbus, Denver....
Once instituted as an acolyte, the seminarian may assist at the celebration of the Eucharist, purify the sacred vessels and, when needed, assist with the distribution of Holy Communion, including taking communion to the sick. The ceremony is an important step celebrated in anticipation of the seminarian’s diaconal and priestly ordinations.
“I think Bishop John had a really good visit with the folks here,” Brantley said, a hint of pride in his voice. “They were really impressed with him, his Mass and homily. A number of the guys came up and were so impressed.”
When he spoke to the Register, Brantley, a former pilot, was, like most students this time of year, in the midst of finals, with thoughts of Christmas break fluttering in the back of his mind. It has been a hectic semester for Brantley, one brimming with challenges and blessings (oftentimes one and the same). The first semester, he was told, is one of the most hectic.
Brantley will spend Christmas with his brother and his family in Colorado Springs, then he returns to our diocese where, among his other activities will be to assist at Mass at St. Andrew’s in Wright on Dec. 29, meet with Bishop Brungardt, Father Wesley Schawe, and the other seminarians, and soon after head back to Massachusetts.
Brantley wanted to express his strong and sincere appreciation for the support of the people of the Diocese of Dodge City.
“It’s incredible,” he said. “I’m here in my room, at my computer, and I’m tired and I look up and see those cards, and there are so many people praying for us -- for me. It’s overwhelming. I’m speechless. I’m in awe. It makes a huge difference knowing people back home are praying for me. I don’t have the words. It truly does make a difference.”