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Ordination Key Moments

This third and final ordination will bring them into the fullness of the priesthood.

The Ordination Mass for a bishop is rich in symbolism and meaning, but we can miss these beautiful moments of the liturgical celebration if we aren’t fully aware of all that is happening.

Although already ordained priests, the bishops-elect will celebrate a third and final degree of the sacrament of Holy Orders (1st-Diaconate, 2nd-Priesthood, and 3rd-Episcopacy). This third and final ordination will bring them into the fullness of the priesthood.

Here’s a brief summary of the key moments of an episcopal ordination: 

Procession: The Mass begins with the entrance of the ordaining bishop, co-consecrating bishops, the candidate for ordination (bishops-elect), and other clergy. They process together into the cathedral, signifying the solemnity of the occasion.  The procession for our new four bishops will occur on September 26, at the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels.

Veni, Creator, Spiritus: The “Come, Holy Spirit” prayer is chanted after the Gospel reading, and symbolizes the beginning of the Ordination Rite of the Mass. The ancient prayer is a plea for the Holy Spirit to grace the proceedings with His gifts.

Presentation of the Elect: The bishops-elect will be presented to the congregation by an archdiocesan delegate. He will then request ordination of the new bishops in the name of the Catholic community.

Apostolic Letter: The Apostolic Letter from Pope Francis will be read. This letter authenticates the discernment process of the Church and the Holy Father’s choice of these priests for ordination to the episcopate.

Assent: At this point, the congregation is often asked to express their assent or approval of the bishops-elect by saying “Thanks be to God” or a similar response. This signifies the communal acceptance of the new bishops.

Nine Promises of the Elect: Before proceeding further, the bishops-elect publicly make nine solemn promises to the Church and God. These promises include a commitment to uphold and teach the faith, maintain Church unity, and obey the Pope and their own ordinary bishop.

Litany of the Saints: The principal consecrator invites all of the faithful to pray for the bishops-elect, who then prostrate themselves. This is a sign of their unworthiness for the office and their complete surrender to God. The bishops-elect receive the prayers from the entire congregation who prayerfully sing the Litany of the Saints.

Laying on of Hands and Prayer of Consecration: The ordaining bishop (or principal consecrator) and any co-consecrators, now lay their hands on the head of the bishops-elect. With apostolic authority, the ordaining bishops and co-consecrators call down the Holy Spirit upon the new bishops.

The new bishops kneel while the Book of the Gospels is held open over their heads. The prayer of consecration is asking God for the outpouring of the Holy Spirit and His gifts proper to the ministry to which the candidates are being ordained. (CCC 1573)

All sacraments are visible signs of invisible realities and have a specific form and matter. The matter of Holy Orders consists of the laying on of hands, which coincides with the form, the specific consecratory prayer said. It is in this moment that the sacrament of Holy Orders is conferred.

Anointing with Holy Chrism: The bishops are now anointed with holy chrism on the head, signifying the anointing of the Holy Spirit and the bishop’s role as spiritual leaders. Anointing is a sign that was used in the Bible to show authority. “Kings were anointed, prophets were anointed, Christ was the anointed.”

Symbols of the office: Each bishop is presented with the symbols of his new office. The Book of the Gospels, representing that the preaching of the Word of God is the “pre-eminent obligation of the office of the Bishop”; along with an episcopal ring, a miter (bishop’s hat, a sign of the crown of glory), and crosier (a staff shaped like a shepherd’s crook). These are all symbols of the office of bishop and his role of shepherd of God’s people.

Seating of the New Bishops: The new bishops then take the first place among the concelebrating bishops.

Kiss of Peace: Before the Mass continues, the Rite of Ordination ends with the traditional kiss of peace from the principal consecrator and all co-consecrating bishops present, which seals the new bishops’ admittance into the episcopacy.

Episcopal Ordination

Learn more about this significant occasion where Msgr. Albert Bahhuth, Father Matthew Elshoff, OFM. Cap., Father Brian Nunes and Father Slawomir Szkredka, will become auxiliary bishops of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles.

Learn More Here