Monday, June 05, 2023

Recent Priestly Ordinations for the North American Province of the FSSP

On Friday, May 26, Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone ordained three members of the Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter to the sacred priesthood at a Pontifical Mass in Lincoln, Nebraska. There were so many highlights to the liturgy—I always feel like my head is going to explode at one of these pontificals, they are just so overwhelming: a pageantry of symbols of the richest meaning, with moments of piercing spiritual insight sparked by inexhaustible prayer texts bequeathed to us from centuries of faith.

The little detail that struck me most this time around was caused by the unusual way the ordination ceremony breaks up the alleluias. In Paschaltide (and Ascensiontide is no different) there are two Alleluias (instead of a Gradual/Alleluia or a Gradual/Tract). The first Alleluia is sung through, and the second is begun—but then, before the verse is sung, the entire very long ordination ceremony takes place. Talk about a delayed cadence, postponed period, interrupted utterance! And after all that is done, the schola resumes with the verse of the second alleluia, followed by the Gospel.

That day was the feast of St. Philip Neri. Here are his alleluias:

Alleluia, alleluia. De excélso misit ignem in óssibus meis, et erudívit me. (From above He hath sent a fire into my bones, and hath instructed me.)

Alleluia. [ —> Ordinations <— ] Concáluit cor meum intra me: et in meditatióne mea exardéscet ignis. Alleluia. (My heart grew hot within me, and in my meditation a fire shall flame out.)

“He hath sent a fire into my bones and hath instructed me.” The vocation sent by God, in the form of a desire to be a priest... the long years of study... the spiritual struggles... the moment when this immense gift is finally bestowed at the hands of the bishop and one knows, in his bones, that he is a priest forever, according to the order of Melchisedek...

“My heart grew hot within me, and in my meditation a fire shall flame out.” The fire is now ignited within these men by the indelible inscription of Christ's sacrificial priesthood in their souls—a change in BEING. Agere sequitur esse: action flows from being. From this character shall flame out the fire of priestly prayer, sacramental grace, and the preaching of the Word.

St Philip Neri—what a patron to have on one’s ordination day! What a pair of Alleluias to remember and ponder!

The following are a selection of photos that display many major moments of this magnificent ceremony. There is a whole catechesis embedded in this sequence. I will not attempt to be thorough (that would take a book) but I'll at least try to identify what is going on in the ceremony at each point.

1. A deacon looks at the cloth (the maniturgium) that will bind his hands after they have been anointed with chrism. This same cloth is customarily given to the priest’s mother to be buried with her as a sign that she gave a priest to the Church. 

2. Putting on the maniple, sign of laboring in the Lord’s vineyard.

3. Holding the chasuble and ready to process.

4. On the way...

5. The bishop and his attendants enter the church.

6. Prayers at the foot of the altar.
7. Incensation of the celebrant.

8. Chanting of the Epistle by the subdeacon.

9. The ordinandi in the midst of their brethren from the FSSP.

10. Summoned.

11. Prostration during the Litany of Saints.

12. Imposition of the bishop’s hands: this is the MATTER of the sacrament of Holy Orders.

13. All the priests present place their hands on the ordinati’s heads.

14. The bishop speaks the FORM of the sacrament: “Grant, we beseech Thee, Almighty Father, to this Thy servant, the dignity of the priesthood; renew within him the spirit of holiness, that he may keep the rank in Thy service which he has received from Thee, and by his conduct may afford a pattern of holy living.”

15. Each new priest now approaches for various accompanying rites. First, the placing of the stole in a priestly manner instead of a diaconal manner.

16. Then the clothing with the chasuble.

17. The chasuble is pinned up halfway to indicate that the priest’s powers have not yet been “released” for exercise.

18. “O God, the source of all holiness, of whom are true consecration and the fullness of blessing, pour down, O Lord, on this Thy servant whom we now call to the honor of the priesthood, the grace of Thy blessing, that by the gravity of his actions and the example of his life, he may show himself to be an elder formed by the rule that Paul gave to Titus and Timothy; that meditating on Thy law day and night, he may believe what he reads, teach what he believes, conform to what he teaches...”

19. Next, the priest’s hands are anointed with the holy oil of catechumens in the shape of a cross drawn from thumb to forefinger and forefinger to thumb.

20. As mentioned for the first photo, the hands are wrapped in a cloth (much as used to be done, and sometimes still is done, at traditional confirmations).

21. The bishop extends a chalice and paten, which the priest touches, and says: “Receive the power to offer Sacrifice to God, and to celebrate Mass, both for the living and the dead, in the name of the Lord. Amen.”

22. Incensation of the bread and wine. The ordinati kneel, each accompanied by an experienced priest of his choice.

23. The Masses of priestly ordination and episcopal consecration are the only times in the Roman Rite when concelebration takes place. The new priests (and they alone) recite all the prayers with the celebrant.

24. The exchange of peace with the new priests.

25. After Communion, the schola sings the “Iam non dicam...” (No longer will I call you servants, but my friends), and the newly ordained recites the profession of Faith to the bishop, who then places his hands on his head and says: “Receive the Holy Ghost: whose sins thou shalt forgive, they are forgiven them; and whose sins thou shalt retain, they are retained.”

26. ...and as the chasuble is lowered to its full length, the bishops says, “The Lord clothe thee with the robe of innocence.”

27. The priest then places his hands between the bishop’s, and makes a promise of obedience (not, nota bene, a vow of obedience as religious do: a distinction that is not unimportant).

28. The bishop gives first a special blessing to the priests, before imparting the pontifical blessing to all: “May the blessing of Almighty God, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost, descend upon you; that you may be blessed in the priestly order, and may offer propitiatory sacrifices for the sins and offenses of the people to Almighty God, to Whom belongs glory and honor, forever and ever. Amen.”

29. The Placeat tibi.

30. Outside the bishop blesses all who processed out with him.

31. Group photo!

32. One of the new priests gives his first priestly blessing to the bishop who ordained him.

33. Then he blesses his mother.

Ad multos annos, Fr. Isaac Lind,  Fr. Evan Schwab, and Fr. Quinn Gomez! God bless you with a faithful, fervent, and fruitful priesthood.

Join Dr. Kwasniewski at his Substack,“Tradition & Sanity.”

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