Seven boys from St. Joseph’s undertook a long journey south to be present for the ordination of Mr. Jonah Garno, a fellow parishioner. The special purpose of the trip was to be there for his elevation to the major order of subdeacon. However, the boys were fortunate to be there for the ceremony that took place the day before, in which seminarians received the minor orders. Below is a descriptive narration from one of the boys who had the joy and the privilege to take this trip.
Our trip began on Thursday, March 15th with the 11-hour car ride through Ohio, Pennsylvania, Maryland, and West Virginia. We arrived at the seminary just before 9 o’clock P.M. We were just in time for Compline.
The next morning, we woke up early to attend a low mass in which the community receives communion. This was followed by a light breakfast. On Fridays at the seminary, breakfast is eaten standing because they are meant to be short as it is a day of fast. Afterwards we proceeded back to the chapel for the ceremony of ordination to the four minor orders: porter, lector, exorcist, and acolyte.
As a porter, your job is to open and close the church doors, keep out the unworthy and ring the church bells. Lectors are to read the sacred books during the divine office, teach catechism and they are allowed to bless new fruits and bread. These two orders are received at the same time. The exorcist has the duty of casting out the devil from the bodies of those possessed and keep him away from the faithful. Today, he is not allowed to perform exorcisms without permission. Acolytes must hold the candles during the Gospel and bring the water and wine to the altar. The orders of Exorcist and Acolyte are received together.
Once the ceremony was finished, there was a banquet in the rectory. Our group of boys ate in a separate room with some seminarians so we did not have to stay in the long banquet. Our group went on an exploration into the woods. There we saw that the seminarians were in the process of building a shrine and a four-story tree house.
We later got a tour of the seminary. The main attractions for us were the two sacristies, especially the bigger one, the pontifical sacristy. In this room, there are special cope drawers which were custom made to swing outward from one side in the shape of a semi-circle to fit the cope. The treasured vestment is the All Saints set. This set is made from pure gold thread and has all the matching pieces for even the biggest masses. When appraised, it was valued at over $500,000! Another attraction was the crozier used by Archbishop Lefebvre. The building also has 10 side altar rooms for all the priests to say mass! We ended our day with Stations of the Cross, dinner, and Compline.
The next morning we again woke up and attended the 7:15 mass to receive communion with the community. We had breakfast and went back to the chapel for the Ordinations to the Subdiaconate. The subdeacon is to present the paten and chalice to the deacon, pour the water and wine, and sing the Epistle. They are able to purify sacred linens and must recite the breviary daily. This ceremony included the Litany of the Saints. Following the ceremony was a banquet with a St. Patrick’s Day meal. We later explored the building a bit, getting good photos in the process.
In the mid-afternoon we made a trip to Appomattox, the site of General Lee’s surrender in the civil war. We toured the different buildings which had been restored and saw different buildings such as a small jailhouse, the courthouse, and the general store. We came back to the seminary for rosary, dinner, and Compline. We woke early the next morning, Sunday, for mass and breakfast. Soon after we left for the return trip home.