Saturday, September 17, 2011

Diocesan Diaconate Ordination

This morning thirteen men were ordained as deacons in the Catholic church in Boston's Holy Cross Cathedral. His Eminence, Sean Patrick Cardinal O'Malley, OFM Capuchin was the principal celebrant. Over a dozen already-ordained permanent deacons and over eighty priests witnessed the ordination of these thirteen deacon candidates. A friend of mine, Tim O'Donnell, was one of the newly ordained.

It is an extraordinary vocation that requires extensive formation for both the man and his wife. The order of deacon was resurrected with Vatican II and currently over 200 deacons serve the archdiocese of Boston. One striking feature of the vocation is that the man pledges obedience to his Ordinary Bishop and his successors, which means the bishop is his boss, not the pastor (priest) to whom he is assigned.

In the liturgical ceremony, the candidate is elected by the bishop to which the assembly gives their consent. The candidates are examined as a group by the bishop. In preparation for the ordination, the candidates lie prostrate on the floor before the altar as the congregation prays for them by invoking the Litany of the Saints. The bishop imposes hands upon the candidates and proclaims a solemn prayer of consecration.

The newly ordained are then vested with the diaconal stole (a liturgical sash) and dalmatic (a rounded chasuble) and are presented with the Book of the Gospels. The rite concludes with a Kiss of Peace from the bishop followed by a welcome by their brother deacons. The liturgy then continues with the Preparation of the Altar and the Gifts. The newly ordained participate fully, according to their new order among other ordained ministers.

These are the words of the bishop to the deacon candidate:

Believe what you read
Teach what you believe
Practice what you teach