ROME, 13 January 2013 – On Sunday, 13 January 2013, the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord, fifty-five seminarians of the Pontifical North American College were instituted to the Ministry of Reader during a celebration of the Eucharist. Nathan James Ricci of the Diocese of Providence, who is in his first year of theological studies, was among those seminarians instituted.
His Eminence, Daniel Cardinal DiNardo, Archbishop of Galveston-Houston, and an alumnus of the College, celebrated the Mass and instituted the new readers.
Handing the book of Sacred Scriptures to each seminarian, His Eminence said, “Take this book of Holy Scripture and be faithful in handing on the Word of God, so that it may grow strong in the hearts of His People.”
In his homily, Cardinal DiNardo spoke about the “divine compassion” of Our Lord in his willingness to be baptized by John, and in his ministering to the “smoldering wicks”, those of weak faith, that he encountered. The Cardinal invited the newly instituted readers to contemplate their own participation in the divine compassion, and exhorted them to spread God’s Word to those smoldering wicks that they may encounter along the path to priesthood.
The Ministry of Reader is one of the ministries seminarians receive as they proceed towards diaconal and priestly ordination. As the rite indicates, a reader is charged with proclaiming the Word of God in the liturgical assembly, instructing children and adults in the faith, and preparing them to receive the sacraments worthily.
Founded in 1859 by Blessed Pius IX, the Pontifical North American College serves as the American house of studies in Rome, where over 5000 priests have been formed near the heart of the Church for service in dioceses across North America and around the world. 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.