Twenty students at Bishop Guilfoyle Catholic High School, Altoona, were commissioned by Bishop Mark Bartchak as extraordinary ministers at the school's Thanksgiving Mass.
Robert Sutton, BG religion teacher and director of campus ministry, presented the students for commissioning after affirming with pastors that the students are in good standing in their respective parishes.
The students are expected to serve as extraordinary ministers at school Masses and at their parishes.
Twenty Bishop Guilfoyle Catholic High School students were commissioned by Bishop Mark Bartchak as extraordinary ministers at the school’s Thanksgiving Mass. The students include (from left): front row — Annie Dombrowski, Elizabeth Davies, Nicole Carrieri, Anna Dunning, Chloe Lusk, Bishop Bartchak, Caitlin Berkheimer, Katelyn Nosek, Jessica Sanders, Lindsie Welteroth, Kira Piccerillo and Brennan Hurd; back row — Kathryn Nazaruk, Jessica Boslet, Jamey Brumbaugh, Damon Rickens, Brendan Trybus, Jennifer Patterson and Justin Kirkland. Missing from the photo are Rachael Dorsch and Matthew DePastina.
"It shows that they are feeling called to a deeper level of their Catholic faith - ministry," Sutton said. "They feel not only that they are coming to a moment of greater possession of their faith, but a greater responsibility in regard to their faith as well. One of the seniors, Justin Kirkland, put it beautifully: 'Once I grasped that idea [that the Eucharist is really the Body of Christ], I felt a duty to distribute the Eucharist. If I didn't believe it, I wouldn't do it.'"
Bartchak said during the commissioning ceremony during the Mass that these extraordinary ministers should be examples of Christ, and strive to grow in holiness.
The BG students included Caitlyn Berkheimer, Jessica Boslet, Jamey Brumbaugh, Nicole Carrieri, Matthew DePastina, Annie Dombrowski, Rachael Dorsch, Anna Dunning, Brennan Hurd, Justin Kirkland, Chloe Lusk, Abigail Maucieri, Kathryn Nazaruk, Katelyn Nosek, Jennifer Patterson, Kira Piccerillo, Damon Rickens, Jessica Sanders, Brendan Trybus and Lindsie Welteroth.
"Last year, we had about two dozen students, this year we have 20; and I would say that those numbers are likely to be pretty close to what we can expect," Sutton said. "That number comes close to one out of four students in the senior class - pretty impressive."
The role of an extraordinary minister is to assist the priest with distribution of Holy Communion and the Precious Blood of Jesus Christ during the Mass.
For the students to become extraordinary ministers, they must attend four training sessions focusing on:
n What the Eucharist is;
n What the ministry of the Body and Blood of Christ means for both the minister and the recipient of the ministry;
n How to administer the Eucharist under both forms;
n How to care for the Eucharist (especially if there would be a mishap of some sort at Mass);
n Simple exposition/adoration.
"Their commitment to absorb their training as a ministry rather than just something that anyone could do. They really responded to the idea that this was something unique, something beautiful, and something that really involves their commitment at the level of faith rather than just learning the rules and rituals involved," Sutton said.