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The rite of ordination

2009-06-17

Some of the gestures practiced today were performed in the 1st century.

The rite is performed in the ordination of bishops, priests and deacons. It’s always presided by bishops and it takes place between the scripture readings and the Eucharist liturgy.  
 
It begins with the bishop calling each candidate by name and each candidate responding in Latin "Adsum” which means "I’m present”.  

Msgr. Juan Javier Flores
Pontifical Liturgical Institute
The candidates respond to some questions or sometimes make a pledge. In the case of the future priest, they make a promise of chastity and obedience to the bishop.

Then the candidates prostrate on the floor in a gesture of humility and supplication. The people attending kneel and sing the litany of the saints, and are asked to help the candidates.

Then comes one of the most essential acts of ordination, the laying on of hands. The bishop ordains each man by laying his hands on the
candidate’s head.

Msgr. Juan Javier Flores
Pontifical Liturgical Institute
It’s the moment when the Holy Spirit descends upon the candidate through the sacramental action.

Another important act is the consecration prayer. Following these acts, the deacon becomes a priest.

Then start a series of rites called "explanatory.” In the case of the Episcopal ordination, the bishop anoints the head and places the mitre,
the ring and the crosier to the new bishop.

Msgr. Juan Javier Flores
Pontifical Liturgical Institute
In the case of the priests, the bishop always anoints their hands with oil: because they are the hands that bless, the hands that will ordain, the hands that will consecrate. That’s why they do the anointing of hands.

The deacon on the other hand is given a Bible because he will be the minister of the proclamation of the Gospel.

The conclusion of the rite varies depending on the traditions of each country. In Spain, people approach the new priests to kiss their hands
and in Italy and Germany they approach them to receive their blessing.  

DG