It’s Getting Real: My Admission to Candidacy  for Holy Orders – 2 – Looking and Reflecting on the Text of the Rite of Candidacy.

It’s Getting Real: My Admission to Candidacy for Holy Orders – 2 – Looking and Reflecting on the Text of the Rite of Candidacy.

May 27, 2020 0 By BLACKCATHOLIC

This is the second entry in a mini article-series on my admission to Candidacy. Today is the day of my admission, which will take place at 11:00am CT this morning. I am feeling some of those good kinds of butterflies for sure. Anyway, I planned beforehand to do a piece that included the actually text of the formal rite that will take place during Mass today with the Bishop. Three of us in total will be admitted to Candidacy later today, and during our admission this will be said and done. I found the following text here, and I am glad to share it because this something a lot of people are not familiar with.  

The Rite of Admission to Candidacy

CALLING OF THE CANDIDATES

6. The appointed deacon or priest calls the candidates by name. Each one answers: Present, and goes to the bishop, before whom he makes a sign of reverence.

EXAMINATION

7. Then the bishop speaks to the candidates in these words or in others which the conference of bishops may determine:

My sons, the pastors and teachers in charge of your formation, and others who know you, have given a favorable account of you, and we have full confidence in their testimony.

In response to the Lord’s call are you resolved to com­plete your preparation so that in due time you will be ready to be ordained for the ministry of the Church?

Together the candidates answer:

I am.

The bishop:

Are you resolved to prepare yourselves in mind and spirit to give faithful service to Christ the Lord and his body, the Church?

The candidates:

I am.

ACCEPTANCE OF THE CANDIDATES

If it wishes, the conference of bishops may determine the manner in which the bishop is to accept the candidates.

The bishop adds:

The Church receives your declaration with joy. May God who has begun the good work in you bring it to fulfillment.

All:

Amen.

INVITATION TO PRAYER

8. Then all stand, and the bishop, without his miter, invites the people to pray:

Brothers and sisters, let us ask our God and Lord to pour out his grace and blessing on these servants of his who desire to give their lives to the ministry of the Church.

INTERCESSIONS

9. The deacon or another qualified minister proposes the fol­lowing intentions or others adapted to the circumstances. All respond with an appropriate acclamation.

Deacon or minister:

That our brothers may draw closer to Christ and be his witnesses in the world, let us pray to the Lord:

All: Lord, hear our prayer.

Deacon or minister:

That they may share the burdens of others and always listen to the voice of the Holy Spirit, let us pray to the Lord:

All: Lord, hear our prayer.

Deacon or minister:

That they may become ministers of the Church who will strengthen the faith of their brothers and sisters by word and example, and gather them together to share in the eucharist, let us pray to the Lord:

All: Lord, hear our prayer.

CONCLUDING PRAYER

10. The bishop continues:

Lord, hear our prayers for your sons who wish to dedicate themselves to your service and the service of your people in the sacred ministry.

Bless them + in your fatherly love, that they may persevere in their vocation, and through their loving fidelity to Christ the Priest be worthy to carry out the Church’s apostolic mission.

We ask this through Christ our Lord.

All:

Amen.

Or:

Lord, help your servants to understand and live the mystery of your love more completely every day.

Deepen their sense of purpose as they prepare for the sacred ministry of the Church and fill them with the spirit of your love so that they may be wholehearted in bringing salvation to mankind for the glory of your name.

We ask this through Christ our Lord.

All:

Amen.

Reflection

I would like to give three brief reflections on the above text of the rite.

(1) A lot of us have probably attended a priestly or deaconate ordination in our dioceses before and have experience the long rite that takes place in the middle of the Mass that is the actual ordination ceremony.  We have seen the numerous parts that take place with in it leading all the way to the beginning of the liturgy of the Eucharist when Mass begins to proceed as normal again. For those of you have been to an ordination, notice how the above rite admitting a man to Candidacy replicates in a smaller way elements of the ordination rite. Actions that will take place at his potential ordination in the future happen for him at his admission to Candidacy. The man (or men) is called for attendance and the answers “Present” (Latin: Ad sum). He is examined and has been found worthy to take this next step in his life as man of the Church. The Bishop asks him questions of regarding his readiness to make certain resolutions, or promises, and the response is “I am.” The all-important phrase that rings out at every formal step and will be repeated at ordination is said: “May God who has begun the good work in you bring it to fulfillment.” And there is a special blessing at the end that completes the transition he has made. Many similarities abound, and they will repeat themselves in specific ways according to the next formal steps received in their own particular rites after this one: lector, acolyte, deacon, and priest. The presence of these similarities to the actual ordination rite is very important because ordination is what its all point towards in the end.

 (2) The Bishop says the following: “My sons, the pastors and teachers in charge of your formation, and others who know you, have given a favorable account of you, and we have full confidence in their testimony.”

This is a great reminder that even though we think mostly about the individual man discerning the call when he begins thinking about the priesthood, enters, and studies in the seminary, and this is all true, but we also have to know that from the very moment a man makes his first contact with the vocation director of a diocese or religious order both he and the Church begins their formal discernment of a possible vocation. The man is never alone in his journey, and he is never doing all he has to do as only an individual effort. This is because he is not becoming a priest for his own on his own (nor should he ever). He is seeking to become a priest for another, and that other is the Bride of Christ, the Church. He is asking to becoming a mystical spouse of the Church in replication of the Christ Who is Groom, and marriage is a path made for two heading together towards to goal lifelong love.  Thus, the Church evaluates and makes her determinations also, and this is done by those in charge of his formation from the vocation director at home to rector and formation staff at the seminary to finally the only one who will ordain him, the Bishop.  Everyone along with the man has to give their “Yes.” And this affirmation is guided by God in the Holy Spirit.

(3) Lastly, I would like to talk about the above two questions asked by the Bishop during the rite:

“In response to the Lord’s call are you resolved to com­plete your preparation so that in due time you will be ready to be ordained for the ministry of the Church?”

and

“Are you resolved to prepare yourselves in mind and spirit to give faithful service to Christ the Lord and his body, the Church?”

These are not only questions but request to the man to make certain resolutions, or promises, to continue on by God’s grace and will down the path his is on to ordination in a way that is faithful, honest, open, and centered upon ministry and service for the Church. Should ordination be God’s will in the end, he accepts it in the present moment and resolves to prepare for it. A lot of times, these promises have been asked to men towards the end of Theology 3 months before ordination to the deaconate. In my situation, I am being asked to make these promises before I enter theology. The goal is that I will have a mindset of preparation now and develop it even further on the way to ordination. So, this morning I am making these promises of priestly preparation to the Bishop who will ordain me, the Church that will be a Spouse to me, and the God who is calling me. Again, this is not an absolute guarantee that ordination will happen, but at this point the only reason I would want to leave this path is if God shows to me clearly that this is not His will for me. God’s will is what it’s all about.  

All of this awaits me during the last hour of the morning today at 11:00am. My next longer post in this mini article-series will be after my admittance to Candidacy. Please pray that God’s will be done. Thank you.

JMJ

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