Ordination of 16 Deacons and Subdeacons
On the Feast of the Most Precious Blood of Jesus, July 1, His Grace, the Most Reverend Salvatore J. Cordileone, Archbishop of San Francisco, ordained 7 deacons and 9 subdeacons including five Americans at the Institute’s Church of Ss. Michele e Gaetano in Florence, Italy.
Ordination of Deacons
The duties of the deacon are to handle the sacred vessels, to be of service to the priests and Bishops especially in the Liturgy), to chant the Gospel at the Mass, to be general stewards, and to serve the widows and orphans. This Order is Sacramental, and the first of the three divinely-instituted grades of the hierarchy of Orders, the others being the priesthood and the episcopate.
Having led the assembly in the Litany of the Saints during which those to be ordained lie prostrate as a humble sign of their complete reliance upon heavenly intercession, the Bishop then confers the diaconate by imposing one hand on the head in the course of a preface of consecration. Afterwards the Bishop vests the newly-ordained deacon in the liturgical garments of his Order: the outer dalmatic and the stole which is worn over the left shoulder and under the dalmatic. Finally, the new deacons touch the Book of the Gospels, thereby receiving the duty to chant the Word of God and to preach it with wisdom, charity and zeal.
Ordination of Subdeacons
The subdiaconate was only generally considered a major order in the Latin Church during the Middle Ages. Thus, a subdeacon does not receive the laying on of hands at his ordination. Instead, the bishop hands to him an empty chalice and paten, cruets of wine and water, and the Book of the Epistles and gives a particular blessing. The Bishop also invests the subdeacon in the vestments of his order: the amice (worn about the neck and shoulders), the maniple (worn on the left arm), and the large outer garment called the tunicle. Unlike the deacon, priest, and bishop, the subdeacon never wears a stole.
The roles of a subdeacon at Solemn High Mass include the chanting of the Epistle, holding the Gospel book while theDeacon chants the Gospel, and assisting the deacon in serving the priest at the altar. The subdeacon brings the chalice to the altar at the Offertory while wearing the humeral veil. He continues to wear it while holding the paten during a large part of Solemn High Mass, from the Offertory to the Our Father.
Subdeacons pledge to live a life of clerical celibacy and to recite the Divine Office each day. They are also specially charged to care for the linens used at the altar during Holy Mass. The subdiaconate is thus a very important step in the formation of a cleric who is preparing for the priesthood.
Click the images below to enlarge them.