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Our readers asked:

I’m going to an ordination soon. Are there any parts of the service that will be unfamiliar to me?

Julianne Wallace Answers:

The Rite of Ordination occurs within the context of Mass and therefore there will be some parts of the sacrament that will be familiar to you. Also, if you have participated in any of the sacraments recently you will notices some similarities in the Ordination Rite.

The sacrament itself occurs in between the Liturgy of the Word and the Liturgy of the Eucharist. The Bishop, who is the presider (or leader) of the celebration will examine and question each candidate for ordination, much like you might see at a Baptism, Confirmation or Wedding.

Another moment that will be familiar to you is the singing of the Litany of Saints; however, during this litany the candidates lie prostrate before the altar as the community asks the communion of saints to be with the candidates for ordination. Finally, the essential act of ordination is the laying on of hands. This symbolic action should be familiar to you, because it is used in many of the other sacraments including Baptism and Confirmation. The Bishop and all other priests will lay hands on each candidate praying that the Holy Spirit bless them with the grace of Ordination. So, while you may have not been to an Ordination before, you will be able to see some similarities between this celebration and the celebration of other sacraments in our faith. For more on the ritual itself see the Jesuits of New Orleans website.

The Author : Julianne Wallace
Julianne E. Wallace is the associate director of faith formation, worship, and ministry at St. Bonaventure University in Western New York. She earned an M.T.S in Word and Worship from the Washington Theological Union in Washington, D.C. and a B.A. in Music Performance from the University of Mary Washington in Virginia. Julianne is passionate about sharing the joy of liturgy with others and helping everyone to worship well.
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