Michael Walter Bissex of the Diocese of Rockville Centre was among the 54 seminarians installed to the Ministry of Acolyte on March 1st at the Pontifical North American College in Rome. Bishop Paul Loverde of the Diocese of Arlington was the main celebrant of the Mass of the Second Sunday of Lent.

During his homily, Bishop Loverde, an alumnus of the College,  charged those being installed as acolytes as well as all the members of the faithful to be willing, in contemplating the Transfiguration of Christ as proclaimed in the Gospel, to be transformed in mind, heart, and will, into living reminders of Christ for the whole world to see.

The seminarians, currently in their second year of formation for the priesthood, have two additional years of theological studies and spiritual formation before being ordained to the priesthood in their home dioceses. As part of the rite, the Bishop placed the paten, which contains the hosts for the celebration of Mass, in the hands of each candidate and said, “Take this vessel with bread for the celebration of the Eucharist. Make your life worthy of your service at the table of the Lord and of his Church.”

Rockville Centre’s Michael Bissex, right, with his classmates at the Mass.

The Pontifical North American College serves as the American seminary in Rome. Founded in 1859 by Blessed Pius IX, the college has formed over 5000 priests near the heart of the Church for service in dioceses around the United States, Canada, and Australia. The College strengthens the bonds between Rome and local Churches worldwide, and it allows its students to study the Church’s rich religious and cultural heritage at close range.