Two important rituals precede the consecration prayer. After an invitation to pray, the bishop-elect lies prostrate during the litany of saints. We’ve spoken of the inclusion of appropriate saints for deacons, and I think we’ve touched on it for priests. It would be interesting to see which saints the bishop would choose to call upon if he were given the opportunity to suggest them.
INVITATION TO PRAYER
20. Then all stand, and the bishop, without his miter, invites the people to pray:
My dear people, let us pray that almighty God in his goodness will pour out his grace upon this man whom he has chosen to provide for the needs of the Church.
Deacon (except during the Easter season):
Let us kneel.
LIT ANY OF THE SAINTS
21. The bishop-elect 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.
22. After the litany, the principal consecrator alone stands and, with hands joined sings or says:
be moved by our prayers.
Anoint your servant with the fullness of priestly grace, and bless him with spiritual power in all its richness.
We ask this through Christ our Lord.
Deacon: Let us stand.
The people stand and the laying on of hands begins. All done in silence.
LAYING ON OF HANDS
23. All rise. The principal consecrator and the consecrating bishops stand at their places, facing the people. The bishop-elect rises, goes to the principal consecrator, and kneels before him.
24. The principal consecrator lays his hands upon the head of the bishop-elect, in silence. After him, all the other bishops present do the same.
Just before the consecration prayer, the Book of the Gospels is brought out. Next post we’ll cover that important ritual.
BOOK OF THE GOSPELS
25. Then the principal consecrator places the open Book of the Gospels upon the head of the bishop-elect; two deacons, standing at either side of the bishop-elect, hold the Book of the Gospels above his head until the prayer of consecration is completed.