- What is ordination?
- When does the ordination actually take place?
- Who can ordain priests?
- What is the meaning of the laying on of hands?
- Why does the ordinand lie prostrate during the ordination?
- What is the meaning of the newly ordained priest receiving the stole and chasuble?
- What does the anointing of the hands signify?
- Why does the ordaining bishop hand the ordinand a chalice and paten?
- How does one prepare for ordination to the priesthood?
- Do priests take vows?
- What is a Missionary?
Ordination is the sacramental ceremony in which a man becomes a deacon, priest, or bishop and enabled to minister in Christ's name and that of the Church. There are three ordinations in the Sacrament of Holy Orders: deaconate; priesthood; and Episcopal. The ordination ceremony includes various rituals, rich in meaning and history, e.g., the prostration, laying on of hands, anointing of hands, giving of the chalice and paten, sign of peace.
The essential rite of the sacrament, i.e., when it takes place, is the laying on of hands and prayer of consecration. This is an ancient tradition in the Church, mentioned in the Bible.
Only a bishop can ordain a priest because he shares in the ministry of Jesus passed down through the apostles.
By this ritual the ordaining bishop and the other priests invoke the Holy Spirit to come down upon the one to be ordained, giving him a sacred character and setting him apart for the designated ministry.
It symbolizes his unworthiness for the office to be assumed and his dependence upon God and the prayers of the Christian community.
These are vestments which pertain to his office and have symbolic meaning. The stole symbolizes the authority and responsibility to serve in imitation of Christ. It reflects the line from Scripture: "For my yoke is easy and my burden light" (Mt 11:30). The chasuble is the principal garment of the priest celebrating the Eucharist and is the outermost vestment.
Anointing with oil stems from the Old Testament and indicates that someone or something is being set apart for a sacred task or duty. The anointing of the hands signifies that the hands of the newly ordained priest are being prepared for the sacred duties and vessels which will be part of the priestly ministry, for example, offering the bread and the wine, anointing the sick and blessing people. The bishop says as he anoints the hands: "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."
The Eucharist is at the heart of the priesthood and this ritual highlights the importance of celebrating the Eucharist in the life of the priest and its meaning, as seen in the words which are spoken by the bishop: "Accept from the holy people of God the gifts to be offered to him. Know what you are doing, and imitate the mystery you celebrate: model your life on the mystery of the Lord's cross."
A man has to engage in a challenging program of priestly formation which lasts from five to thirteen years, depending upon his background and the seminary he attends. There are three levels of seminary: high school; college or pre-theology; and theology.
Seminaries address four types of formation: human; spiritual; academic (intellectual); and pastoral. In addition to the academic course work, seminarians participate in a full schedule of spiritual activities, e.g., daily Mass, Liturgy of the Hours (Morning Prayer, Evening Prayer), and spiritual direction and retreats. At each level of seminary training, the seminarian prepares for future pastoral ministry in various settings, such as schools, religious education programs, hospitals and parishes. All of the formation takes into consideration the human person; human growth and development is fostered by community living, workshops and other programs. The formation of future priests includes practical learning, too, for example, preaching, saying Mass, and pastoral counseling.
Priests who belong to a religious order (e.g., Benedictine, Dominicans, Franciscans, etc.) take the vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience. Diocesan priests make two promises, celibacy and obedience; these promises are part of the ordination ceremony. It is also expected that diocesan priests will lead a life of simplicity consonant with the people they serve.
For recent statistics on seminaries and seminary students, please call the Secretariat for Vocations and Priestly Formation at the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.
A missionary is called to proclaim Christ through helping to create new Christian communities or assisting those that are just beginning in many parts of the world. The missionary also engages in the interreligious and intercultural dialogue of the Church worldwide. Finally, the missionary lives in solidarity with the poor through the work of justice, peace and the integrity of creation. Missionaries collaborate with the populations they serve to work for the common good in communion and solidarity with the local Church and in fidelity to the universal Church.
Provided by: Father Carl Chudy, SX , Provincial, United States Province, Xaverian Missionaries.
Vocations & Priestly Formation | Â© USCCB. All rights reserved.
Latest Vocation News
The Vatican has asked nuns to spend less time on social media and more time in prayer and contemplation. The request follows consultation ... continue reading
As infants, Monica and Cristian Moya were hovering on the verge of death. But after their mother consecrated them to the Virgin Mary, they ... continue reading
The investiture of Sister Maria Vittoria della Croce last month marked the first ceremony of its kind to be held in the Italian city of ... continue reading
On Sunday Pope Francis ordained 16 men to the priesthood, reminding them to be like Jesus the Good Shepherd in the way they serve the ... continue reading
The word 'hermit' might conjure up some strange images, a la John the Baptist living reclusively in the desert, wearing a hair shirt and ... continue reading
by Catholic Online
- Daily Reading for Monday, May 28th, 2018 HD Video
- Daily Readings for Sunday, May 27, 2018
- Another victory for life! California court rejects assisted suicide ...
- St. Augustine of Canterbury: Saint of the Day for Sunday, May 27, 2018
- New rules for Colorado Civil Rights board after SCOTUS bakery case
- Commit yourself to ending war this Memorial Day
- Daily Reading for Tuesday, May 29th, 2018 HD Video
- American websites blocking Europeans over new data laws HD
- Living Words with Deacon Keith Fournier - 'The Word Became Flesh' John 1:1-14 HD
- Daily Reading for Sunday, May 27th, 2018 HD
- An Ebola outbreak has reached a major city, hereĂ˘Â€Â™s why that matters HD
Learn about Catholic world
Inform - Inspire - Ignite
Catholic Online Saints
Your saints explained
Catholic Online Prayers
Prayers for every need
Catholic Online Bible
Complete bible online
Catholic Online News
Your news Catholic eye
Today's bible reading
Products and services we offer
Catholic Online Shopping
Catholic medals, gifts & books
The California Network
Inspiring streaming service
Learn the Catholic way
Teacher lesson plans & resources
Support Free Education
Tax deductible support Free education