I find the old practice of slowly growing in rank in the Church extremely spiritually edifying. I feel that as the seminarian obtains more rights and powers in the Church, he will become more prepared for ordination as a priest of Jesus Christ.
The New Liturgical Movement has a post on its blog with photos of a minor ordination: A view into the Life of the Institute of the Good Shepherd and a commentary on Minor Orders.
Minor Orders Explained:
Q. 981. What are the grades by which one ascends to the priesthood?
A. The grades by which one ascends to the priesthood are:
1. Tonsure, or the clipping of the hair by the bishop, by which the candidate for priesthood dedicates himself to the service of the altar;
2. The four minor orders, Porter, Reader, Exorcist, and Acolyte, by which he is permitted to perform certain duties that laymen should not perform;
3. Sub-deaconship, by which he takes upon himself the obligation of leading a life of perpetual chastity and of saying daily the divine office;
4. Deaconship, by which be receives power to preach, baptize, and give Holy Communion.
Baltimore Catechism No. 3
Porter: In the early Church, the porter was charged with ringing the bells for Mass and for the offices, opening the church and the sacristy, holding the book in front of the preacher and keeping troublesome persons out of the church. Spiritually, this symbolizes closing oneself to the devil and opening oneself to God by ones words and examples, our souls being temples of the Holy Ghost. In giving this order, the bishop has the candidate touch the keys, saying: “Comport yourself as if you were to render account unto God, of all that you close with these keys.”
Lector: Those ordained lectors have the privilege to read Lessons and Prophesies during the liturgy. The Bishop calls them to “Apply yourselves to reading the word of God in a clear and distinct manner to instruct and edify the faithful."
Exorcist: The bishop has the candidates touch the ritual, containing the rite of exorcism. He instructs them, saying “As you drive forth the devil from the bodies of your brothers, be sure to reject from your spirit and body all impurity and iniquity, so as not to be slaves of him from whom you deliver others.” However today, exorcists do not have the faculties to exorcise, that being left to priests with permission of the diocesan bishop.
Acolyte: The acolyte carries candles during ecclesiastical functions and presents wine and water at Mass. The bishop cites the Gospel according to St. Mark, saying “Let your light shine before men that they may see your good works and glorify your Father that is in heaven.”