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Saturday, May 22, 2021, 11am - Cathedral of St. Raymond in Joliet



watch LIVESTREAM on Saturday, May 22 2021, 11 a.m.; Mass booklet PDF


Rite of Ordination to the Priesthood

The Rite of Ordination and the Ordination Mass comprise one of the most beautiful,
solemn and joyful liturgies celebrated in the Catholic Church.

Ordination to the priesthood (presbyterate) takes place within the context of the Catholic Mass.  The rite takes place after the Liturgy of the Word and before the Liturgy of the Eucharist.  Most of the rite dates back many centuries and is punctuated with a number of distinct parts which are described below.

(Priest is etymologically derived from the Greek presbyteros via the Latin presbyter.)


Calling of the Candidates
The candidates to be ordained are called by the Deacon.   The candidates come forward and answer “Present.”

Presentation of the Candidates 
The Director of Vocations asks the Bishop in the name of “holy mother Church” to ordain the candidates. 

 When the Vocation Director requests ordination in the name of “holy, mother Church,”
he is doing so for the whole People of God, not exclusively the hierarchy.

The Bishop asks whether the Director of Vocations judges them worthy.
The Director of Vocations testifies to their worthiness for the priesthood and responds: “After inquiry among the Christian people and upon the recommendation of those concerned with their formation, I testify that they have been found worthy.”

Election by the Bishop
The Bishop then chooses the candidates by saying: “Relying on the help of the Lord God and our Savior Jesus Christ, we choose these, our brothers, for the order of Priesthood. “

Consent of the People
All present respond: “Thanks be to God” and show their assent by applause.

Everyone sits while the Bishop gives the homily.  He begins with the text of the readings from Scripture and then addresses the people and candidates about the priestly office. 

Promises of the Elect
After the homily, the candidates stand together before the Bishop who questions them about their resolve to perform the duties of the Order of the Priesthood. 

The elect declare their intention to undertake the office of priesthood through the following promises:

  • Promise to discharge the office of priesthood in the presbyteral rank as worthy fellow workers with the Order of Bishops.
  • Promise to exercise the ministry of the word worthily and wisely, preaching the gospel and teaching of the Catholic faith.
  • Promise to celebrate faithfully and reverently the mysteries of Christ handed down by the Church, especially the sacrifice of the Eucharist and the sacrament of Reconciliation, for the glory of God and the sanctification of the Christian people.
  • Promise to implore God’s mercy upon the people entrusted to their care by observing the command to pray without ceasing.
  • Promise to be united more closely every day to Christ the High Priest, who offered himself for us to the Father as a pure sacrifice and to consecrate themselves to God for the salvation of all.

Promise of Obedience
The elect go to the Bishop one at a time and, kneeling before him, places his hand between those of the Bishop and promises obedience and respect to him and his successors. 

The promise of obedience to the bishop originated during a time when clerics were subject to lay authority and considered serfs subject to a feudal landlord.  The promise emphasizes that the priest is subject to the bishop and him alone.  The gesture of placing one’s hands between those of another originated in the feudal relationship between lord and vassal.

Litany of Supplication
The Bishop invites the people to pray.  The elect prostrate themselves while the assembly kneels for the singing of the Litany of the Saints. 

The litany, a prayer of the universal Church, is sung over the elect while they lie prostrate on the floor.
Prostrate on the floor, the elect demonstrate their humbleness and willingness to serve others

Laying on of Hands
The elect go to the Bishop one at a time and kneel before him.  The Bishop lays his hands on the head of the elect, in silence.  After the Bishop has laid on hands, all the priests present lay hands on the elect, in silence. 

The gift of the Holy Spirit for the office of presbyter is conferred by the laying on of hands and the following Prayer of Ordination.  Hippolytus’ Apostolic Tradition explains this gesture: “They all have a common and similar spirit.”   By this gesture the presbyters receive the elect into the presbyteral college.

Prayer of Ordination of a Presbyter
Following the imposition of hands, the Bishop says the Prayer of Ordination as the elect kneel. 

 The Prayer of Ordination situates the presbyteral ministry within a Trinitarian context.
The prayer is directed to the Father who by the power of the Holy Spirit provides various forms of
ministry within the Church of Christ, the Son.

 Prayer of Ordination of a Presbyter

Be with us, Lord, holy Father; be with us, almighty and eternal God, author of human dignity and bestower of every grace.  Through you all things progress, through you all things stand firm.  To form a priestly people you appoint ministers of Christ your Son by the power of the Holy Spirit, arranging them in different orders.

Already in the earlier covenant a diversity of offices flourished established by sacred rites: when you set Moses and Aaron over your people to govern and sanctify them, you chose men next in rank and dignity to accompany them and assist them in their task.

So too in the desert you implanted the spirit of Moses; in the hearts of seventy wise men with their help he ruled your people with great ease.

So also you gave the sons of Aaron an abundant share of their father’s plenty, that the number of priests prescribed by the Law might be sufficient for the sacrifices of the tabernacle, which were a foreshadowing of the good things to come.

But in these last days, holy Father, you sent your Son into the world, Jesus, who is Apostle and High Priest of our faith.

Through the Holy Spirit he offered himself to you as a spotless victim; to his Apostles, consecrated in the truth, he gave a share in his mission.  You provided them also with companions to proclaim and carry out the work of salvation throughout the world.

And now we ask you, Lord: in our weakness give us also the helpers that we need to exercise the priesthood that comes from the Apostles.

Almighty Father, grant, we pray, to these servants of yours the dignity of the priesthood.  Renew deep within them the Spirit of holiness.  May they safeguard this office, next in rank to our own, which they receive from you, O God, and by their manner of life may they be examples of right conduct.

May they be worthy coworkers with the Order of Bishops, so that by their preaching and through the grace of the Holy Spirit the words of the Gospel may bear fruit in human hearts and reach even to the ends of the earth.

Together with us, may they be faithful stewards of your mysteries, so that your people may be renewed in the waters of rebirth and nourished from your altar.  And so that sinners may be reconciled, and the sick raised up.

May they be joined with us, Lord, to implore your mercy for the people entrusted to their care and for all the world.

And so may all nations, gathered together in Christ, be transformed into your one people and be brought at last to the fullness of your kingdom.

We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God for ever and ever.

All answer: Amen.

Investiture with Stole and Chasuble
After the Prayer of Ordination the newly ordained stand and are assisted by other priests who vest them in stole and chasuble, signs of their priestly office. 

The stole, the major indispensable sign of ordination is a band of material worn by bishops,
priests and deacons for all liturgical services.  Bishops and priests wear it around their neck with the ends dropping down in front.

Anointing of the Hands
Throughout the Old Testament and into the New Testament, the rite of anointing has symbolized the transforming power of the Holy Spirit.  The newly ordained priests come before the Bishop one at a time, and he anoints their hands with Sacred Chrism.

While anointing their hands the Bishop says: “The Lord Jesus Christ, whom the Father anointed with the Holy Spirit and power, guard and preserve you, that you may sanctify the Christian people and offer sacrifices to God.”

Handing Over of the Bread and Wine
The Bishop presents a paten with bread and a chalice with wine to the newly ordained priests.  It is with these elements that the priest presides over the Church’s central act of worship, the Eucharist.

Members of the assembly, commonly family members or friends of the newly ordained, bring forward the bread and wine mixed with water, and the gifts are received by the Deacon who gives them to the Bishop.  The Bishop then hands the bread and wine to the newly ordained saying: “Receive from the holy people the gifts to be offered to God.  Know what you do, imitate what you celebrate, and conform your life to the mystery of the Lord’s cross.”  This ritual ties the rite of ordination directly to its Eucharistic context and to the priest’s service on behalf of the People of God.

Fraternal Kiss
The ordination rite concludes with the Bishop and all the priests present welcoming the newly ordained into the Order of the Priesthood by giving them the sign of peace.

The Bishop’s sign of peace seals the admittance of his new coworkers into their ministry.