Holy Orders is the sacrament by which bishops, priests and deacons are ordained and receive the power and grace to perform their sacred duties. The sacred rite by which orders are conferred is called ordination. The apostles were ordained by Jesus at the Last Supper so that others could share in his priesthood.
Rites of Ordination
The Rites of Ordination occur during Mass after the gospel is read.
Calling of the Candidate
The candidate is called forward by a deacon or priest.
Presentation of the Candidate
The candidate is presented to the archbishop for ordination. A deacon or priest is usually the presenter.
A priest affirms that the candidate is ready for ordination. This decision is made in consultation with people involved with the candidate's: human and spiritual growth, knowledge of the Catholic theological tradition, and
his pastoral experience, as well as supervision.
Election by the Bishop and Consent of the People
In Roman Catholic theology, the call to priesthood is a vocation from God discerned within the Church. This is represented by the ritual “choosing of the candidate” by the archbishop and the assent of the gathered people to this choice.
The Archbishop addresses the assembly on the duties of the ordained priest.
Examination of the Candidate
The archbishop, through a series of questions, asks the candidate to declare before the people his intention to exercise the ministry of priest.
The candidate also promises to be obedient to the archbishop and his successors.
Litany of Saints
The assembly make an intercession to God for the candidate.
Not only does the Church gathered here make intercession, but all the Saints are called upon to join in this great act of intercession.
During the Litany, the candidate lies prostrate before God.
Laying on of Hands
The archbishop lays his hands on the candidate's head in silence. All the priests in attendance do the same.
The “Laying on of Hands” is an ancient Biblical gesture beseeching God to empower the candidate by the Holy Spirit.
Prayer of Consecration
With his hands extended over the candidate, the archbishop says the great “Prayer of Consecration,” asking God to grant the candidate “the dignity of the priesthood.”
In Roman Catholic theology, the action of “Laying on of Hands” and the “Prayer of Consecration” are the heart of the Ordination Rite and confer the grace of ministerial priesthood.
Investiture with Stole and Chasuble
A priest now clothes the candidate with the vesture associated with the ordained priest: the priestly stole and the chasuble.
Anointing of the Hands
The palms of the new priest are anointed with the Oil of Chrism. Chrism is a symbol here of Christ the High Priest, who has offered the one and unique sacrifice. In Roman Catholic theology, the priest sacramentally participates in this ministry of Christ.
Anointing with Chrism takes place at the Baptism of infants, at Confirmation, and at the Ordination of priests and bishops.
Presentation of Gifts
The archbishop now hands over to the newly ordained priest the gifts of bread and the wine and water brought up by the people, which will be used during the Holy Eucharist. This signifies that one of the candidate's central obligations is to preside at the Holy Eucharist.
Kiss of Peace
The archbishop gives the kiss of peace to the newly-ordained priest, signifying the bond of unity.
The Liturgy of the Eucharist proceeds.