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Saturday, 16 January 2016 09:21

Ancient Rite Makes 'Another Christ'

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(Part Three in a series.)

The Biblical gesture of laying on of hands is the central part of the Catholic ordination rite.  

Through the power of the Holy Spirit the ministry of priesthood is transmitted to unworthy servants for the care of God's people and the building up of the Church.

After the Litany of Saints, Deacon Harry comes before the bishop who lays his hands on Harry's head.  The other priests present do the same as a sign of the unity of the priesthood of Jesus Christ.  All this is done in reverential silence as the awe-filled assembly prays for the presence and action of the Holy Spirit.  Finishing the right is the Prayer of Ordination, after which Deacon Harry is now Father Harry.  The next part of the rite makes that clear.

First, Father Harry removes the stole of the deacon is and dressed in the vestments of the priest, the stole and chasuble.  A group of faithful carry the vestments forward and give them to a priest who will assist Father Harry vest.

Next, Father Harry approaches the bishop and his hands are anointed with Sacred Chrism. "The Lord Jesus, whom the Father anointed with the Holy Spirit and power, guard and preserve you, that you may sanctify the Christian people and offer sacrifice to God."

A paten (plate) with bread and a chalice with wine is then presented to the new priest by the bishop who instructs Father Harry to conform his life to the mystery of the Lord's cross.  Some of the Fathers of the Church have referred to the priest as another Christ - because his life is to be conformed more and more to that of the Lord.  (This movement of conforming to the Lord is also true of all the baptized through the power of the Holy Spirit.)

The ordination right concluded when the bishop, and the other priests present offer the sign of peace to the newly ordained.

Read 647 times Last modified on Saturday, 16 January 2016 10:50

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