Saturday, May 28, 2011


There are seven sacraments in the Catholic Church--Baptism, Confession, Holy Communion, Confirmation, Marriage, Holy Orders, and the Anointing of the Sick. Some, of course, are more common than others. I can now say I've participated in each one of them, because this morning Tony and I went an Ordination of Priests.

Four men were ordained today. We've known one of them for a long time time. He went to school with Son Tony, and they were in the same Cub Scout pack and Boy Scout troop. It was big news when he decided to join the seminary after he graduated from high school. Four years of college and another four years of seminary education had prepared him for this day.

The ceremony took place at the Cathedral Basilica. The church was quite full by time Tony and I found our seats shortly before 10:00. The choir finished up their prelude music, and switched over to the entrance hymn. Mass started out as usual with an entrance procession. Usual, that is, if your procession consists of dozens of seminarians, hundreds of priests and deacons, and the archbishop and his auxiliary bishops. It was quite an impressive sight.

The familiar Mass rituals continued through the Introductory Rites and the Liturgy of the Word. After the Gospel the ordination itself took place. There were several parts:
  • The candidates were called forward, the president of the seminary they attended vouched for their worthiness, and the Archbishop accepted them (to a loud round of applause).
  • After a homily by the Archbishop, the candidates declared their willingness to undertake the responsibilities of a priest, and promised to respect and obey the Archbishop and his successors.
  • The candidates prostrated themselves while the choir led the congregation in a Litany of the Saints, praying for God's grace for the new priests.
  • Next, the Archbishop laid hands on each of the candidate, and each of the priests in attendance did the same. 
  • After a prayer of ordination, each of the candidates received stoles and chasubles, the priestly garments they'll wear at each Mass they celebrate, then the Archbishop anointed the hands of each.
  • The bread and wine were brought forward; they in turn presented the gifts to the Archbishop.  
  • Finally, the Archbishop shared the sign of peace with the newly ordained priests, followed by all of the priests.
After the ordination ceremony, the Mass continued with the Liturgy of the Eucharist and the concluding rites.  The ministers of the liturgy left the church in the same order they came in, but instead of being with the seminarians, now the newly ordained walked with the priests. They all had huge smiles on their faces; it was their big day.


  1. Sounds like quite the event, I never realized it took 8 years of education to become a priest, that's a lot of years! Congrats to your friend. Have a wonderful Sunday!

  2. Very interesting. And congratulations to the one you knew..well, to all of them, actually. ha. There are a few similarities in an ordination of a pastor, and I've been in services for two of those. Such a moving and important time for them!