Ordination Rites: Ordination of a Deacon 16-20

Before we get to the meaty consecration, let’s look at the rituals in between the candidate’s promises and the bishop’s long prayer. First up, the candidate promises obedience to his present and future bishops:


16. Then the candidate goes to the bishop and, kneeling be­fore him, places his joined hands between those of the bishop. If this gesture seems less suitable in some places, the conference of bishops may choose another gesture or sign.

I’m not familiar with cultures in which the grasping of joined hands would be less suitable. We have a few readers outside the Americas; what, if anything, have you seen?

If the bishop is the candidate’s own Ordinary, he asks:

Do you promise respect and obedience to me and my successors?


I do.

If the bishop is not the candidate’s own Ordinary, he asks:

Do you promise respect and obedience to your Ordinary?


I do.


May God who has begun the good work in you bring it to fulfillment.


17. Then all stand, and the bishop, without his miter, invites the people to pray:

My dear people, let us pray that the all-powerful Father will pour out his blessing on this servant of his, whom he receives into the holy order of deacons.

Deacon (except during the Easter season):

Let us kneel.


18. The candidate prostrates himself and, except during the Easter season, the rest kneel at their places.

The cantors begin the litany (see Chapter VI); they may add, at the proper place, names of other saints (for example, the patron saint, the titular of the church, the founder of the church, the patron saint of the one to be ordained) or peti­tions suitable to the occasion.

These are interesting instructions. Certainly, the names of deacon-saints should be added, I would think. This link sends you to a combined listing of Roman, Orthodox, Anglican, and Lutheran deacons, and this one gives a chant version of a litany of deacon-saints.

19. The bishop alone stands and, with his hands joined, sings or says:

Lord God, hear our petitions and give your help to this act of our ministry.

We judge this man worthy to serve as deacon and we ask you to bless him and make him holy.

Grant this through Christ our Lord.




Let us stand.


20. Then all stand. The candidate goes to the bishop and kneels before him. The bishop lays his hands on the candi­date’s head, in silence.

For a Roman ordination, the full lists above are not appropriate, but more attention could be given the litany of saints in this liturgy. Other comments?

About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in Minnesota, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
This entry was posted in Ordination Rites, post-conciliar liturgy documents, Rites. Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to Ordination Rites: Ordination of a Deacon 16-20

  1. In my experience, the promise of obedience is a surprisingly prominent part of the ordination liturgy. The first time I saw it I was (predictably) cynical about it: “well of course the promise of obedience gets as much attention as the laying on of hands; this is the Church, after all.”

    But at my own ordination, I was surprised at how moving I found this part. Perhaps because the bishop was about to retire and I knew that I would soon be serving under his as-yet-unnamed successor, I felt a real sense that I was vowing obedience to the apostolic office and not to the individual man. For some reason, this gave me a deep sense of the continuity of the apostolic ministry down through the ages.

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