Detroit Catholic Central High School was proud to celebrate Basilian Scholastic Mr. David Basil as he was instituted to the role of acolyte, in addition to recognizing 10 students in the Order of Christian Initiation for Teens (OCIT) Rite of Welcome and Acceptance December 8 on the Feast of the Immaculate Conception.
Acolyte constitutes the last minor order before ordination and serves as a deeper preparation for the diaconate. As an acolyte, Mr. Basil officially assists at the altar during Mass, including carrying the processional cross and purifying the sacred vessels.
‘It is the last step before his ‘yes Lord’ to serve the people of God in the Basilian way of life,” explained Principal Fr. Patrick Fulton, CSB during Mass. “Today, Mr. Basil reminds us that God is present in our midst, that we are all called to minister to the world,” he said.
Mr. Basil first met the Basilian Fathers in Detroit at Cristo Rey High School, where they invited him to attend the summer associate programs. There, he met Fr. Bill Riegel, CSB, who made a profound impact on him.
“His last words to me were ‘you are in the right place, at home with the Basilians’”, said Mr. Basil.
Mr. Basil lives in community with the Basilians and hopes to profess perpetual vows of chastity, poverty, and obedience this summer and his diaconate ordination in 2024.
“Discernment is always best done in a community setting where the community members observe and help you understand where and what God is calling you to,” said Mr. Basil. “At the end of the day, both sides have to concur that this is what and where God is calling you to.”
This decision is not one made lightly, as Mr. Basil has been on the path of discernment for several years.
“As Fr. Fulton was preaching, I was praying inside and realizing that this was more than making a choice, said Mr. Basil. “It was a response to that inner desire to serve as a Basilian priest some day. That can be scary! I kept whispering to Mr. Babicz sitting next to me that I was nervous, but he kept reassuring me that the whole CC community was standing with me.”
While his institution to the role of acolyte was surely a memorable moment by itself, Mr. Basil said the moment was made even more special by sharing the solemnity with the students of the OCIT program.
“It was a feeling of sheer joy to see 10 young men stepping forward to join the Catholic community. For me that was the best moment yesterday, a moment that will stay with me forever,” said Mr. Basil.
The Rite of Welcome and Acceptance is the formal welcoming within Mass of candidates, those already baptized but seeking full initiation into the Church through completion of the sacraments, and catechumens, those beginning the process of becoming a member of the Catholic Church through Baptism.
“We owe a very special thank you to our candidates and catechumens today because they remind us of what we should be,” said Fr. Fulton during his homily. “They’ve now started on that step of saying ‘yes’ to God’s plan for them. ‘Yes’ to being God-bearers to a world which needs them.”
During the rite, students were welcomed in the name of Christ, receiving the sign of the cross over their foreheads to be strengthened with the sign of his love.
“I would like our 11 students [an additional student approached Fr. Fulton after Mass to join the program] who are preparing to receive their sacraments of initiation to know that when they stand before their friends and classmates, they signal that there is something good, true, and beautiful to be found in the Christian faith,” said OCIT Moderator and Theology Teacher Mr. Colin Whitehead ‘13. “The witness they offer their friends and classmates is powerful—perhaps even more powerful than anything that can be taught in a classroom setting,” he said.
Catholic Central’s OCIT program has been met with overwhelming receptivity by students curious about the person of Jesus Christ and the Catholic Church.
“Christianity is about a person who desires to accompany us,” said Mr. Whitehead. “Jesus wants to be woven seamlessly into the daily fabric of our lives so that he can be with us in our joys and sorrows and in all that we do. Jesus is walking with our students as they prepare to receive their sacraments of initiation in April, and they in turn invite us to walk with Jesus, too,” he said.
Calling attention to the Church’s celebration of the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception on December 8, Fr. Fulton invited all present to call on Mary Alma Mater as an example and guide.
“Let us pray that, like Mary, we will bring God to a world that desperately needs to hear his message of love, forgiveness, peace, and, ultimately, salvation,” said Fr. Fulton. “May Mary the Immaculate Conception continue to intercede for us and pray for us, that like her, we may continue to be God-bearers to the world and give an unqualified ‘yes, thy will be done’ to our heavenly father.”
Learn more about Catholic Central’s OCIT Program here.