The Celebration of the Christian Mystery
preaching, in presiding over funerals, and in dedicating them-
selves to the various ministries of charity.
Since the Second Vatican Council the Latin Church has restored
the diaconate “as a proper and permanent rank of the hierarchy,”
the Churches of the East had always maintained it. This
which can be conferred on married men, constitutes an important
enrichment for the Church’s mission. Indeed it is appropriate and useful
that men who carry out a truly diaconal ministry in the Church, whether
in its liturgical and pastoral life or whether in its social and charitable
works, should “be strengthened by the imposition of hands which has
come down from the apostles. They would be more closely bound to the
altar and their ministry would be made more fruitful through the sacra-
mental grace of the diaconate.”
Given the importance that the ordination of a bishop, a
priest, or a deacon has for the life of the particular Church, its
celebration calls for as many of the faithful as possible to take part.
It should take place preferably on Sunday, in the cathedral, with
solemnity appropriate to the occasion. All three ordinations, of the
bishop, of the priest, and of the deacon, follow the samemovement.
Their proper place is within the Eucharistic liturgy.
of the sacrament of Holy Orders for all three
degrees consists in the bishop’s imposition of hands on the head of
the ordinand and in the bishop’s specific consecratory prayer asking
God for the outpouring of the Holy Spirit and his gifts proper to the
ministry to which the candidate is being ordained.
As in all the sacraments additional rites surround the celebration.
Varying greatly among the different liturgical traditions, these rites have
in common the expression of the multiple aspects of sacramental grace.
Thus in the Latin Church, the initial rites—presentation and election of the
ordinand, instruction by the bishop, examination of the candidate, litany
of the saints—attest that the choice of the candidate is made in keeping
with the practice of the Church and prepare for the solemn act of conse
cration, after which several rites symbolically express and complete the
mystery accomplished: for bishop and priest, an anointing with holy
chrism, a sign of the special anointing of the Holy Spirit who makes their
ministry fruitful; giving the book of the Gospels, the ring, the miter, and
the crosier to the bishop as the sign of his apostolic mission to proclaim the
Word of God, of his fidelity to the Church, the bride of Christ, and his office
as shepherd of the Lord’s flock; presentation to the priest of the paten and
chalice, “the offering of the holy people” which he is called to present to
35 § 4;
29 § 2.
16 § 6.
60 Cf. Pius XII, apostolic constitution,
Sacramentum Ordinis: DS 3858.