Today, the Diocese of Gary celebrates with great joy the ordination to the priesthood of Jaime Perea and Benjamin Ross. Many wonder what an Ordination Mass is like. Within the Mass are the following:
Calling of the Candidates
After the opening prayers of the Mass and the scripture readings, the vocation director, Fr. Mick Kopil, calls those to be ordained by name. Each candidate responds, “Present,” and steps forward.
Presentation and Inquiry
Bishop Melczek asks for testimony that the candidates have received proper training and are worthy of ordination. Fr. Kopil attests that the candidates are prepared and have been approved for ordination.
The bishop then says: “We rely on the help of the Lord God and our Savior Jesus Christ, and we choose these men, our brothers, for priesthood in the presbyterial order.” The people respond “Thanks be to God” and also give their approval by a hearty round of applause.
Examination of the Candidate
Each candidate approaches Bishop Melczek who asks him if he is willing to serve Christ and his Church as a faithful priest.
Promise of Obedience
Hand in hand with the bishop, those to be ordinand promise obedience to the authority of the Church as well as obedience to the bishop and his successors.
Prayer for the Candidates
The bishop kneels and invites all of those present to join in prayer for the candidates. This period of prayer includes the Litany of the Saints. The candidates prostrate themselves before the altar as the prayers of the Litany invoke God’s saving mercy and the intercession of all the saints to send down the Holy Spirit upon these men, soon to be priests.
Laying on of Hands
This is the most solemn moment of the ordination and the essential act in the sacrament of Holy Orders. The bishop ordains each man by laying his hands on the candidate’s head and praying silently as he invokes the Holy Spirit upon the new priest.
The One Priesthood of Christ
All the other priests who are present also join in the ordination ceremony. Each one in turn lays his hands upon the head of the newly ordained priests. This signifies that they all belong to, and participate in, the one priesthood of Jesus Christ. It is also a sign welcoming the newly ordained into their common brotherhood as priests.
Vesting the New Priest
Each newly ordained now removes his deacon’s stole and is presented with the symbols of his new office in the Church: a priestly stole and chasuble.
Anointing of the Hands
The bishop anoints the palms of the new priest with the oil of chrism. “The Father anointed our Lord Jesus Christ through the power of the Holy Spirit. May Jesus preserve you to sanctify the Christian people and to offer sacrifice to God.”
Presentation of the Gifts
After the gifts of bread and wine are brought to the altar, the bishop gives the paten and the chalice to each new priest. These are the vessels used at each Mass to hold the sacred Body and Blood of Christ in the Eucharist. As the priest receives the chalice and paten, the bishop says: “Accept from the holy people of God the gifts to be offered to Him. Know whay you are doing, and imitate the mystery you celebrate: model your life on the mystery of the Lord’s cross.”
Liturgy of the Eucharist
After the ordination ritual itself has finished, the Mass continues as usual.
First Priestly Blessings
Before the Mass concludes, it is traditional that the ordaining bishop receive the first blessing of the new priest. After the recessional hymn, the new priests give their blessing to all of their relatives and friends who have joined them in this celebration.
FAITH ACTION: Pray the following “Prayer for Priests” by John Cardinal O’Connor, March 1995.
Lord Jesus, we your people pray to You for our priests. You have given them to us for OUR needs. We pray for them in THEIR needs.
We know that You have made them priests in the likeness of your own priesthood. You have consecrated them, set them aside, annointed them, filled them with the Holy Spirit, appointed them to teach, to preach, to minister, to console, to forgive, and to feed us with Your Body and Blood.
Yet we know, too, that they are one with us and share our human weaknesses. We know too that they are tempted to sin and discouragement, as are we, needing to be ministered to, as do we, to be consoled and forgiven, as do we. Indeed, we thank You for choosing them from among us, so that they understand us as we understand them, suffer with us and rejoice with us, worry with us and trust with us, share our beings, our lives, our faith.
We ask that You give them this day the gift You gave Your chosen ones on the way to Emmaus:
Your presence in their hearts,
Your holiness in their souls,
Your joy in their spirits.
And let them see You face to face in the breaking of the Eucharistic Bread.
We pray to You, O Lord, with Mary, the mother of priests, for Your priests and for ours.