The Rite of Ordination of a priest is a ceremony filled with powerful and sacred moments.
An opportunity to experience such profound moments occurs this Saturday, June 28 at the Cathedral of SS. Peter and Paul. At 10 a.m., in a Cathedral full of hundreds of family, friends, faithful and priests, Bishop Thomas J. Tobin will ordain five deacons to the priesthood. Attending an ordination of a priest can change your understanding of the sacred priesthood which is exemplified in Jesus Christ the Good Shepherd “who came not to be served but to serve, and to seek out and rescue those who were lost.”
During the solemn ceremony of ordination, the candidates are called forward and presented to the bishop. He then “elects” them for the sacred priesthood, which is assented to by the People of God in their loud and joyful applause. The candidates lay prostrate on the floor for the Litany of the Saints, as the entire congregation calls upon the saints to intercede for these men chosen by God to be His priests. It is a moment for the candidate to realize the very necessary virtue of humility to be a priest. As the litany concludes, the candidates kneel before the bishop, who lays his hands on each of the candidate’s head in silence. It is a moment of deep meaning and profound sacredness as the bishop invokes the Holy Spirit, as has been done since the time of the Apostles.
The bishop then offers the prayer of consecration, asking God to “grant to this servant of yours the dignity of priesthood.” Each of the newly-ordained is then “vested” with the chasuble and stole of a priest by a brother priest. Their hands, now the hands of a new priest, are anointed with the Holy Oil of Chrism – the same holy oil used at Baptism and Confirmation. These same hands will soon offer the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.
As the gifts of bread and wine are brought forward, the newly-ordained are presented the paten and chalice with bread and wine and are instructed: “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 to the mystery of the Lord’s cross.” In these words, the priest is reminded that celebrating the Holy Eucharist is central to the life of the priest. These new priests will soon arrive at parishes to begin their ministry, offering Mass, anointing the sick, baptizing the children, and preaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
The ordination of a priest is a solemn and joyful occasion that offers the faithful a great opportunity to come to a deeper understanding of the nature of the priesthood. So we invite you to join this solemn and celebratory occasion for our Church as five men are ordained to the priesthood for the Diocese of Providence Saturday. We congratulate the men to be ordained priests for service in the Diocese of Providence: Fathers Jaime Garcia, Jacek Ploch, Jeremy Rodrigues, David Thurber and Lukasz Willenberg. May they truly understand what they do, imitate what they celebrate and conform their priestly lives to the mystery of the Lord’s cross.