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Concerning the Service | Preface to Ordinations | Additional Directions

The Ordination of a Priest

A hymn, psalm, or anthem may be sung.

The people standing, the Bishop says

          Blessed be God: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
People And blessed be his kingdom, now and for ever. Amen.

In place of the above, from Easter Day through the Day of Pentecost

Bishop Alleluia. Christ is risen.
People The Lord is risen indeed. Alleluia.

In Lent and on other penitential occasions

Bishop Bless the Lord who forgives all our sins.
People His mercy endures for ever.

Bishop
Almighty God, to you all hearts are open, all desires known, and from you no secrets are hid: Cleanse the thoughts of our hearts by the inspiration of your Holy Spirit, that we may perfectly love you, and worthily magnify your holy Name; through Christ our Lord. Amen.

The Presentation

The bishop and people sit. A Priest and a Lay Person, and additional presenters if desired, standing before the bishop, present the ordinand, saying

N., Bishop in the Church of God, on behalf of the clergy and people of the Diocese of N., we present to you N.N. to be ordained a priest in Christ's holy catholic Church.

Bishop
Has he been selected in accordance with the canons of this Church? And do you believe his manner of life to be suitable to the exercise of this ministry?

Presenters
We certify to you that he has satisfied the requirements of the canons, and we believe him to be qualified for this order.

The Bishop says to the ordinand
Will you be loyal to the doctrine, discipline, and worship of Christ as this Church has received them? And will you, in accordance with the canons of this Church, obey your bishop and other ministers who may have authority over you and your work?

Answer
I am willing and ready to do so; and I solemnly declare that I do believe the Holy Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments to be the Word of God, and to contain all things necessary to salvation; and I do solemnly engage to conform to the doctrine, discipline, and worship of The Episcopal Church.

The Ordinand then signs the above Declaration in the sight of all present.

All stand. The Bishop says to the people

Dear friends in Christ, you know the importance of this ministry, and the weight of your responsibility in presenting N.N. for ordination to the sacred priesthood. Therefore if any of you know any impediment or crime because of which we should not proceed, come forward now, and make it known.

If no objection is made, the Bishop continues
Is it your will that N. be ordained a priest?

The People respond in these or other words
It is.

Bishop
Will you uphold him in this ministry?

The People respond in these or other words
We will.

The Bishop then calls the people to prayer with these or similar words
In peace let us pray to the Lord.

All kneel, and the Person appointed leads the Litany for Ordinations, or some other approved litany. At the end of the litany, after the Kyries, the Bishop stands and reads the Collect for the Day, or the following Collect, or both, first saying

          The Lord be with you
People And also with you.

Let us pray.

O God of unchangeable power and eternal light: Look favorably on your whole Church, that wonderful and sacred mystery; by the effectual working of your providence, carry out in tranquillity the plan of salvation; let the whole world see and know that things which were being cast down are being raised up, and things which had grown old are being made new, and that all things are being brought to their perfection by him through whom all things were made, your Son Jesus Christ our Lord; who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

The Ministry of the Word

Three Lessons are read. Lay persons read the Old Testament Lesson and the Epistle.

The Readings are ordinarily selected from the following list and may be lengthened if desired. On a Major Feast, or on a Sunday, the Bishop may select Readings from the Proper of the Day.

  Old Testament  Isaiah 6:1-8,  or Numbers 11:16-17,24-25 (omitting the final clause)
  Psalm 43, or 132:8-19
  Epistle  1 Peter 5:1-4, or Ephesians 4:7,11-16,  or Philippians 4:4-9

It is to be noted that where the words elder, elders, and fellow elder, appear in translations of 1 Peter 5:1, the original Greek terms presbyter, presbyters, and fellow presbyter, are to be substituted.

The Reader first says

A Reading (Lesson) from ______________________.
A citation giving chapter and verse may be added.
After each Reading, the Reader may say
          The Word of the Lord
People Thanks be to God
or the Reader may say Here ends the Reading (Epistle).

Silence may follow.

A Psalm, canticle, or hymn follows each Reading.

Then, all standing, a Deacon or a Priest reads the Gospel, first saying
The Holy Gospel of Our Lord Jesus Christ according to _________________.
People Glory to you, Lord Christ.

John 9:35-38, or John 10:11-18, or John 6:35-38

After the Gospel, the Reader says
         The Gospel of the Lord.
People Praise to you, Lord Christ.

The Sermon

The Congregation then says or sings the Nicene Creed

We believe in one God,
  the Father, the Almighty,
  maker of heaven and earth,
  of all that is, seen and unseen.

We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ, 
  the only Son of God,
  eternally begotten of the Father, 
  God from God, Light from Light,
  true God from true God,
  begotten, not made,
  of one Being with the Father. 
  Through him all things were madand was made man.
  For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate;
  he suffered death and was buried.
  On the third day he rose again
      in accordance with the Scriptures;
    he ascended into heaven
      and is seated at the right hand of the Father.
  He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead,
    and his kingdom will have no end.

We believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life, 
  who proceeds from the Father and the Son.
  With the Father and the Son he is worshipped and glorified.
  He has spoken through the Prophets.
  We believe in one holy catholic and apostolic Church.
  We acknowledge one baptism for the forgiveness of sins.
  We look for the resurrection of the dead,
    and the life of the world to come.  Amen.

The Examination

All are seated except the ordinand, who stands before the Bishop.

The Bishop addresses the ordinand as follows

My brother, the Church is the family of God, the body of Christ, and the temple of the Holy Spirit. All baptized people are called to make Christ known as Savior and Lord, and to share in the renewing of his world. Now you are called to work as pastor, priest, and teacher, together with your bishop and fellow presbyters, and to take your share in the councils of the Church.

As a priest, it will be your task to proclaim by word and deed the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and to fashion your life in accordance with its precepts. You are to love and serve the people among whom you work, caring alike for young and old, strong and weak, rich and poor. You are to preach, to declare God's forgiveness to penitent sinners, to pronounce God's blessing, to share in the administration of Holy Baptism and in the celebration of the mysteries of Christ's Body and Blood, and to perform the other ministrations entrusted to you.

In all that you do, you are to nourish Christ's people from the riches of his grace, and strengthen them to glorify God in this life and in the life to come.

My brother, do you believe that you are truly called by God and his Church to this priesthood?

Answer I believe I am so called.

Bishop Do you now in the presence of the Church commit yourself to this trust and responsibility?

Answer I do.

Bishop Will you respect and be guided by the pastoral direction and leadership of your bishop?

Answer I will.

Bishop Will you be diligent in the reading and study of the Holy Scriptures, and in seeking the knowledge of such things as may make you a stronger and more able minister of Christ?

Answer I will.

Bishop Will you endeavor so to minister the Word of God and the sacraments of the New Covenant, that the reconciling love of Christ may be known and received?

Answer I will.

Bishop Will you undertake to be a faithful pastor to all whom you are called to serve, laboring together with them and with your fellow ministers to build up the family of God?

Answer I will.

Bishop Will you do your best to pattern your life [and that of your family, or household, or community] in accordance with the teachings of Christ, so that you may be a wholesome example to your people?

Answer I will.

Bishop Will you persevere in prayer, both in public and in private, asking God's grace, both for yourself and for others, offering all your labors to God, through the mediation of Jesus Christ, and in the sanctification of the Holy Spirit?

Answer I will.

Bishop May the Lord who has given you the will to do these things give you the grace and power to perform them.

Answer Amen.

The Consecration of the Priest

All now stand except the ordinand, who kneels facing the Bishop and the presbyters who stand to the right and left of the Bishop.

The hymn, Veni Creator Spiritus, or the hymn, Veni Sancte Spiritus, is sung.

A period of silent prayer follows, the people all standing.

The Bishop then says this Prayer of Consecration

God and Father of all, we praise you for your infinite love in calling us to be a holy people in the kingdom of your Son Jesus our Lord, who is the image of your eternal and invisible glory, the firstborn among many brethren, and the head of the Church. We thank you that by his death he has overcome death, and, having ascended into heaven, has poured his gifts abundantly upon your people, making some apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, some pastors and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry and the building up of his body.

Here the Bishop says hands upon the head of the ordinand, the Priests who are present also laying on their hands. At the same time the Bishop prays

Therefore, Father, through Jesus Christ your Son, give your Holy Spirit to N.; fill him with grace and power, and make him a priest in your Church.

The Bishop then continues

May he exalt you, O Lord, in the midst of your people; offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to you; boldly proclaim the gospel of salvation; and rightly administer the sacraments of the New Covenant. Make him a faithful pastor, a patient teacher, and a wise councilor. Grant that in all things he may serve without reproach, so that your people may be strengthened and your Name glorified in all the world. All this we ask through Jesus Christ our Lord, who with you and the Holy Spirit lives and reigns, one God, for ever and ever.

The People in a loud voice respond Amen.

The new priest is now vested according to the order of priests.

The Bishop then gives a Bible to the newly ordained, saying

Receive this Bible as a sign of the authority given you to preach the Word of God and to administer his holy Sacraments. Do not forget the trust committed to you as a priest of the Church of God.

The Bishop greets the newly ordained.

The Peace

The new Priest then says to the congregation

          The peace of the Lord be always with you.
People And also with you.

The Presbyters present greet the newly ordained; who then greets family members and others, as may be convenient. The Clergy and People greet one another.

At the Celebration of the Eucharist

The liturgy continues with the Offertory. Deacons prepare the Table.

Standing at the Lord's Table, with the Bishop and other presbyters, the newly ordained Priest joins in the celebration of the Holy Eucharist and in the Breaking of the Bread.

After Communion

In place of the usual postcommunion prayer, the following is said

Almighty Father, we thank you for feeding us with the holy food of the Body and Blood of your Son, and for uniting us through him in the fellowship of your Holy Spirit. We thank you for raising up among us faithful servants for the ministry of your Word and Sacraments. We pray that N. may be to us an effective example in word and action, in love and patience, and in holiness of life. Grant that we, with him, may serve you now, and always rejoice in your glory; through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

The Bishop then asks the new priest to bless the people.

The new Priest says

The blessing of God Almighty, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, be among you, and remain with you always. Amen.

A Deacon, or a Priest if no deacon is present, dismisses the people.

          Let us go forth into the world, rejoicing in the power of the Spirit.
People Thanks be to God.

From Easter Day through the Day of Pentecost, "Alleluia, alleluia," may be added to the dismissal and to the response.