My daughter must be wondering … are we going to every deacon ordination in this archdiocese now?

We went two years ago to celebrate a friend’s ordination, not knowing that the recent death of his wife had put things in motion to delay. But that was fine. Anita and I know many deacons here in Iowa, many fine couples, including two who are among our dearest friends in the world. We had a great time, plus it was a moving and prayerful liturgy.

Jerry was ordained today. It was another great celebration. Best of all, my wife said she felt good–which is a scarce thing these days. I’d drive three hours one way to give my wife a good day any day, every day.

Meanwhile, elsewhere in liturgy land, another ordination was a shining success because it avoided applause, but otherwise was a clunker for having no congregational singing. (Great headline, though.)

Give me congregational singing any day–like today. The repertoire wasn’t amazing; in fact except for the Communion song, it was pretty pedestrian. They didn’t rush their way through it either: two hours and seventeen minutes. But somehow I found myself moved by singing the chestnut “Pescador de Hombres.” Imagine that.

For me, the binding of a community makes the liturgy. I saw many friends and I knew the backstory of some, including one who had lost a dear wife not two years ago. And still, the witness of faith. Give me this expression of faith over a High Church but more hollow effort. No wonder nobody sang.


About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in the Pacific Northwest, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
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One Response to Ordinations

  1. Liam says:

    Here’s the pdf of the program for Abp DiNoia’s ordination (be advised that it’s formatted for printing rather than for viewing online, so you will need to skip around to understand the order), so people can see what was intended for congregational singing and what was not.

    Now, ordinations to the episcopate involve special ritual actions with extra music not normally found at Sunday Mass (the Te Deum, for example). Also, the National Shrine is a vast space acoustically, and I wonder about how much congregational singing to expect from a gathering of people most of whom who do not normally congregate together let alone in a vast acoustical volume like the Shrine. (This concern is geometrically increased in a place like St Peter’s in the Vatican.) Old Roman basilicas had a handle on acoustics: for example, St Sabina’s is about 100 feet wide including the aisles (about 50 feet wide just in the nave), about 150 feet long and the nave ceiling is about 60 feet high. St Mary Major is similar but longer by perhaps 100 feet and is a superlative space acoustically. (Old St Peters, the Lateran, and St PAul’s are doubled-aisled and much larger, but still nothing like modern St Peter’s.) I think it’s always helpful to keep this sense of scale in mind for an idea of the context in which the Roman rite came to maturity and as a benchmark.

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