Because I did not go to Washington, D.C. last year, I cannot recall any memories. However, I did go the year before last. Two years ago, I believe there were a bit more acolytes that attended the trip to DC, and more to process in the cathedral to represent St. Anne’s church. This year, we had somewhat less acolytes; however our representation was just as good as two years ago, maybe even better, as I have heard.
We were told we were the best probably because of our precision down the cathedral. We created what is called the “shift,” which is the rotation of the 6 torches around the cross into the order in which we originally processed. The shift is executed after we acknowledge the bishop and before we continue processing. We also executed the “kick step,” similar to that of the militant step. Also, while most of the churches were pacing their way down the cathedral and didn’t stop to reverence the bishop, we were slow and took our time. Because of our style of procession, the other churches had no choice but to acknowledge us, and point us, saying “look at the church from Hallandale Beach, Florida.” Our acolyte master and trainer Maceo Brown heard some of the acolytes from other churches say “look at them!” or isn’t that St. Anne’s? Bishop Frade gave our guild thumbs up for our performance at the cathedral and his wife stated she is very proud of us.
I would personally thank Mr. Maceo Brown for his training for the past seven years, and because of the multitude of practice time he has given up to us, we were able to perform diligently.
Two years ago, our youngest acolyte of three years, Amari Rainford, made the spotlight as the youngest acolyte in the nation to serve in the diocese. Now five, he remains the youngest to serve this year, and is now accompanied by a few other young ones, namely Joshua Parker, of five years from Holy Family.
When asked by Bishop Chane what church he belonged to, Amari exclaimed “I don’t know!” in front of the whole congregation. Soon after the service was over, Amari said to his dad, “You never told me the name of my church!” He knows now, and we’re all proud.
Two years ago, we were not in crisis that was impacting our budgets, and acolyte guilds were coming from everywhere. However, this year, despite the United States’ economic deficit, acolyte guilds from as far west as California still came to DC to celebrate, with more than approximately ten acolytes in each guild. I know that just as my church’s funds for this occasion were even harder to create due to crisis, hardships were widespread amongst other churches.
Including St. Anne’s, eight churches that are part of the Diocese of Southeast Florida attended this year’s acolyte Festival, which includes: The Church of the Incarnation, Miami, Trinity Cathedral, Miami, Holy Cross Miami and St. Agnes, Miami, The Church of the Resurrection, Biscayne Park, Holy Family, Miami Gardens, St. James the Hills, Hollywood. The Bishop of our Diocese, Bishop Frade, came with the Church of the Incarnation. This was the first time that our Diocesan Bishop came with the acolytes of Southeast Florida. I believe our Diocese Southeast Florida had the most acolytes. Bishop Frade and Mrs. Frade complimented our guild on our performance saying “we were outstanding”!
With all of these things being highlighted as events that have changed over two years, the most significant event to happen overall of my trips to DC is the inclusion of my mom. In previous years, I would go to DC without her, and would wonder how my experience would be if she was in Washington with me. This year, I was able to experience just that and she expressed to me how much awe she was in.
The preceding article was submitted by Demetrius Jones