Thursday, September 07, 2006

Diaconal Ordinations

On Saturday, September 9, four foreign Jesuits from Arrupe International Residence will be ordained to the diaconate at the Oratory of Saint Ignatius in the Loyola House of Studies. Next Saturday, five Filipino diocesan seminarians from San Jose Seminary will also become deacons.

Here is the short introduction to the liturgy of diaconal ordination that I prepared for last year's participation guide, as well a version of the "Celtic Alleluia" that has verses for ordinations. Let us pray for the ordinands that they may receive the grace of the sacred order in its fullness and be able to carry out worthily their sacred duties for the service of God's holy people.

The liturgy of Diaconal Ordination reformed by Vatican II is such that it is simple, clear and understandable by the general faithful, that the people may be able to take part in it fully, consciously and actively and so be able to enter into the mysteries they signify. The various signs and symbols in the rite speak not only of the profound mystery of this holy Sacrament to be received by the candidates but also of the mystery of our own vocation, personal and ecclesial.

The liturgy begins after the Gospel is proclaimed with the Calling and Presentation of the Candidates and their Election by the Bishop and the Consent of the People. Every Christian vocation is essentially rooted in the evangelical mission of bringing the Good News of the Kingdom and possesses a truly ecclesial character. One is called, not only by and for oneself, but in the Church and to serve the Church. The bishop then preaches a Homily, teaching the people, especially the elect, about the dignity of the sacred order and its place in the life and mission of the people of God. The elect rise to express their Commitment to Celibacy and are further examined by the bishop as to their willingness to give themselves freely and fully to this sacred ministry. By their Promise of Obedience, they place themselves in the service of a particular Church in communion with its pastor, the bishop. From the bishop’s sharing in the priesthood of Christ our High Priest flows their own ministry, which they exercise with his sacred college of presbyters, as collaborators in the care of the Lord’s vineyard.

The bishop then invites the people to pray. The elect prostrate themselves, and all kneel to chant the Litany. The ancient and profound gesture of prostration speaks of the humility of the elect before God who chose them, not because they deserve to be called, but by his own free and gracious election. They are able to respond and live this vocation not solely on their own, but by his holy grace, and the spiritual support of the Church, in her glorious communion of saints and sinners, interceding to God on their behalf. Hence, it is also a posture of begging and supplication with the entire people of God.

Then follows the Laying on of Hands, the central and most essential moment of the Ordination rite, accompanied by the Prayer of Consecration. In this most solemn act, the Church invokes the Holy Spirit, who confers the sacramental dignity of the sacred order on the elect and gives them the grace to carry out their sacred duties: to preach the Word, to assist and to lead the people in the celebration of the sacred liturgy and to minister to the poor and the needy in charity.

The new deacons are then vested with the vestments proper to their holy order: the stole and the dalmatic over the alb. The alb is the symbol of our common baptismal dignity that forms the base and foundation of the dignity of every particular vocation. The stole signifies the sweet and gentle yoke of Christ, the yoke of service, for he washes the feet of his disciples with this orarium as the early Church writers say, as well as the specific duties of the ministry. Indeed they are to wear the stole and alb in the exercise of their sacramental office. As early as the sixth century and established by the eighth century, the dalmatic has been closely associated with the diaconate. A garb of rank and privilege, it signifies the great dignity of the sacred order, yet not outside the Gospel context wherein one who aspires to be great must first be the “servant of all”. (Mt 20: 26; Mk 10: 43)

Having been vested as deacons, they go up to the bishop, who presents to them the Book of the Gospels with the mandate: “Receive the Gospel of Christ, whose herald you now are. Believe what you read, teach what you believe and practice what you teach.” They receive the Kiss of Peace from the bishop, as well as from the other deacons who are present, signifying their having been incorporated fully into the sacred Order.

The celebration continues with and culminates in the banquet and sacrifice of the Most Holy Eucharist, the source and summit of every vocation and ministry in the Church. Indeed, it is the core and apex, not only of the liturgy, but of the whole Christian life.

The Mystery of Holy Orders
Celtic Alleluia with Verses for Ordinations
Fintan O’Caroll – Christopher Walker
Verses: Leo R. Ocampo

The Lord is good and steadfast in love! Alleluia! (R. Alleluia!)
Raising up men to shepherd the flock! Alleluia! (R. Alleluia!)
People of God, rejoice and sing!

Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia!

Bishops to teach, confirm and govern! Alleluia! (R. Alleluia!)
Leading the flock with Christ’s gentle staff! Alleluia! (R. Alleluia!)
People of God, rejoice and sing! (Chorus)

Priests to make holy and shepherd the flock! Alleluia! (R. Alleluia!)
Feeding with care the ewes and the lambs! Alleluia! (R. Alleluia!)
People of God, rejoice and sing! (Chorus)

Deacons to preach, and comfort the poor! Alleluia! (R. Alleluia!)
Proclaiming the Word and serving in love! Alleluia! (R
. Alleluia!)
People of God, rejoice and sing! (Chorus)

A nation of priests, a people for God! Alleluia! (R. Alleluia!)
Many the gifts, One Priesthood in Christ! Alleluia! (R. Alleluia!)
People of God, rejoice and sing! (Chorus)

Pastors to feed and gather the fold! Alleluia! (R. Alleluia!)
Seeking the lost and binding the lame! Alleluia! (R. Alleluia!)
People of God, rejoice and sing! (Chorus)

Prophets, to hear your Voice and proclaim! Alleluia! (R. Alleluia!)
Careful to listen and bold to declare! Alleluia! (R. Alleluia!)
People of God, rejoice and sing! (Chorus)

Kings, to govern and serve in your Name! Alleluia! (R. Alleluia!)
Winning the world for your glorious reign! Alleluia! (R. Alleluia!)
People of God, rejoice and sing! (Chorus)

Behold the Living Body of Christ! Alleluia! (R. Alleluia!)
The flock and their shepherds, united in faith! Alleluia! (R.Alleluia!)
People of God, rejoice and sing! (Chorus)

Praised be the Father, great is his love! Alleluia! (R. Alleluia!)
Giving us Christ, our Priest and our Lamb! Alleluia! (R. Alleluia!)
People of God, rejoice and sing! (Chorus)

Praise be to Christ, Chief Pastor and Lord! Alleluia! (R. Alleluia!)
Sending forth shepherds to pasture the fold! Alleluia! (R. Alleluia!)
People of God, rejoice and sing! (Chorus)

Praised be the Spirit, Comforter and Guide! Alleluia! (R. Alleluia!)
leading the Church with his blessed light! Alleluia! (R. Alleluia!)
People of God, rejoice and sing! (Chorus)

As the bishop enters the sanctuary:

Draw near O Spirit, Life-Giver come! Alleluia! (R. Alleluia!)
Ano-o-int and fill these men with your grace! Alleluia! (R. Alleluia!)
People of God, rejoice and sing! (Chorus)

Glory to God: Father, Spirit and Son! Alleluia! (R. Alleluia!)
Now and through endless ages to come! Alleluia! (R. Alleluia!)
People of God, rejoice and sing! (Chorus, Chorus one step higher)


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