I write this piece on the eve of my priestly ordination and I do so mediating on the “Rite of Ordination of Priests” from The Roman Pontifical. The Rite, is the ‘run- sheet’, so to speak, of how an ordination takes place. It details what has to happen, in what order and in what fashion.
The Rite is steeped in the theology of the priesthood and I’ve been guided through it by my Spiritual Director. In the Rite there is a suggested homily, which Pope Francis has used a number of times when he has ordained priests at St Peter’s Basilica. It’s a beautiful homily and it’s not often heard because the ordaining bishop wants to personalise the homily, which is understandable given the circumstances. So, I thought I would just include a little snippet of the homily, so as to share something of its beauty.
Beloved brothers and sisters: because these our sons, who are your relatives and friends, are now to be advances to the Order of Priests, consider carefully the nature of the rank of the Church to which they are about to be raised...
For your part you will exercise the sacred duty of teaching in the name of Christ the Teacher. Impart to everyone the word of God which you have received with joy. Meditating on the law of the law of the Lord, see that you believe what you read, that you teach what you believe, and that you practice what you teach. In this way, let what you teach be nourishment for the People of God. Let the holiness of your lives be a delightful fragrance to Christ’s faithful, so that by word and example you may build up the house which is God’s Church... Therefore, carry out the ministry of Christ the Priest with constant joy and genuine love, attending not to your own concerns but to those of Jesus Christ.
This Sunday I’m celebrating Mass in my home parish (Mater Dei, West Ashgrove) and after a short holiday I look forward to celebrating with you in this parish.