Ordination Rites: Ordination of a Priest 22

Ah! We get to the prayer of consecration. First the rubrics:

22. The candidate kneels before the bishop. With his hands extended over the candidate, the bishop sings the prayer of consecration or says it aloud:

Come to our help,

Lord, holy Father, almighty and eternal God;

you are the source of every honor and dignity,

of all progress and stability.

Some history follows. Be nice; this isn’t what some characterize as “telling God what to do.” The consecration prayer recounts some Old Testament history:

You watch over the growing family of man

by your gift of wisdom and your pattern of order.

When you had appointed high priests to rule your people,

you chose other men next to them in rank and dignity

to be with them and to help them in their task;

and so there grew up the ranks of priests and the offices of levites,

established by sacred rites.

In the desert

you extended the spirit of Moses to seventy wise men

who helped him to rule the great company of his people.

You shared among the sons of Aaron the fullness of their father’s power,

to provide worthy priests in sufficient number

for the increasing rites of sacrifice and worship.

And the New Testament:

With the same loving care

you gave companions to your Son’s apostles to help in teaching the faith:

they preached the Gospel to the whole world.

And we get to the petition stage of the prayer:


grant also to us such fellow workers,

for we are weak and our need is greater.

Almighty Father,

grant to this servant of yours the dignity of the priesthood.

Renew within him the Spirit of holiness.

As a co-worker with the order of bishops may he be faithful to the ministry

that he receives from you, Lord God,

and be to others a model of right conduct.

May he be faithful in working with the order of bishops,

so that the words of the Gospel may reach the ends of the earth,

and the family of nations, made one in Christ, may become God’s one, holy people.

We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,

who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.

All: Amen.

Note what the prayer teaches about the priesthood. First, that it is a position of dignity rooted in both the Jewish and apostolic traditions. Next note that holiness is not a quality of the priesthood per se, but should already be present in the candidate. A co-worker of the bishops, an example for other believers, preaching with the bishops, an agent of unity: does your parish priest exemplify these values?

About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in Minnesota, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
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