Mangaluru, Apr 17, 2018 : The annual ordination of the diocese of Mangalore today is to be a red letter day. The ordination - anointing or ’Abishek’ a solemn ceremony of the church will take place at 3.30 pm, today, April 17, at Rosario Cathedral, presided over by Rev.Dr.Aloysius Paul D’Souza, Bishop of Mangalore, assisted by a large number of the clergy.
The five Deacons to be ordained are : Rohan Dias of Taccode, Rupesh Tauro of Allipade, Ashwin Crasta of Kumbla, Flavian Lobo of Thodambila, Thrishan D’Souza of Permannur. All have been preparing for this day for several years at st.Joseph’s Seminary, Jeppu.
It is expected that a large number of clergy, religious, family members of the ordinands, well wishers and congregation will be present at the 2 hour solemn ceremony.
What is ordination :
Ordination is the sacramental ceremony in which a man becomes a deacon, priest, or bishop and enabled to minister in Christ’s name and that of the Church. There are three ordinations in the Sacrament of Holy Orders: diaconate; priesthood; and episcopal. The ordination ceremony includes various rituals, rich in meaning and history, e.g., prostration, laying on of hands, anointing of hands, giving of the chalice and paten, sign of peace.
The essential rite of the sacrament, i.e., when it takes place, is the laying on of hands and prayer of consecration. This is an ancient tradition in the Church, mentioned in the Bible.
Only a bishop can ordain a priest because he shares in the ministry of Jesus passed down through the apostles. By this ritual the ordaining bishop and the other priests invoke the Holy Spirit to come down upon the one to be ordained, giving him a sacred character and setting him apart for the designated ministry. Prostrating symbolizes his unworthiness for the office to be assumed and his dependence upon God and the prayers of the Christian community.
Vestments that the new priests put on, pertain to his office and have symbolic meaning. The stole symbolizes the authority and responsibility to serve in imitation of Christ. It reflects the line from Scripture: “For my yoke is easy and my burden light.” (Matthew 11:30) The chasuble is the principle garment of the priest celebrating the Eucharist and is the outermost vestment.
Anointing with oil stems from the Old Testament and indicates that someone or something is being set apart for a sacred task or duty. The anointing of the hands signifies that the hands of the newly ordained priest are being prepared for the sacred duties and vessels which will be part of the priestly ministry, for example, offering the bread and the wine, anointing the sick and blessing people. The bishop says as he anoints the hands: “The Father anointed our Lord Jesus Christ through the power of the Holy Spirit. May Jesus preserve you to sanctify the Christian people and to offer sacrifice to God.”
The Eucharist is at the heart of the priesthood and this ritual highlights the importance of celebrating the Eucharist in the life of the priest and its meaning, as seen in the words which are spoken by the bishop: “Accept from the holy people of God the gifts to be offered to him. Know what you are doing, and imitate the mystery you celebrate; model your life on the mystery of the Lord’s cross.”
A man has to engage in a challenging program of priestly formation which lasts from five to thirteen years, depending upon his background and the seminary he attends. There are three levels of seminary: high school; college/pre-theology; and theology. In 1999-2000, over 700 students attended high school seminaries, 1,576 attended college seminaries and 3,474 were enrolled in theology schools.
Seminaries address four types of formation: human, spiritual, academic (intellectual) and pastoral. In addition to the academic course work, seminarians participate in a full schedule of spiritual activities, e.g., daily mass, Liturgy of the Hours (Morning Prayer, Evening Prayer), and spiritual direction and retreats. At each level of seminary training, the seminarian prepares for future pastoral ministry in various settings, such as schools, religious education programs, hospitals, prisons and parishes. All of the formation takes into consideration the human person; human growth and development is fostered by community living, workshops and other programs. The formation of future priests includes practical learning, too, for example, preaching, presiding at Mass and pastoral counseling.
Priests who belong to a religious order (e.g., Dominicans, Benedictine, Franciscans, etc.) take the vows of poverty, chastity and obedience. Diocesan priests make two promises- celibacy and obedience; these promises are part of the ordination ceremony. It is also expected that diocesan priests will lead a life of simplicity consonant with the people they serve.