Ordination Week for 75 Seminarians
The highpoint and crowning moment of the academic year at St. Philip Neri International Seminary, Ordination Week is the opportunity to manifest liturgical devotion to Christ our King and Sovereign Priest, fidelity to His Church in union with her bishops, and reverence for the edifying traditions of Holy Mother Church. From July 4-7 about 75 seminarians received the either the clerical tonsure or one of the various Minor and Major Orders.
Reception of the Cassock
This week of grace began on Monday, July 4, when 15 seminarians, having completed their first year of seminary formation, received the Roman cassock from the Prior General of the Institute, Monsignor Gilles Wach. Two clerical oblates received the cassock as well. Following this ceremony in the beautiful Florentine Church of Saints Michael and Gaetano, Monsignor Wach offered the Solemn High Mass in the presence of several hundred faithful and friends.
Tonsure and Minor Orders
On the following day, July 5, the Most Reverend Mario Meini, Bishop of Fiesole and Vice-President of the Italian Bishops Conference, conferred the clerical tonsure upon these same 15 seminarians. During the Holy Mass, His Excellency likewise administered the various Minor Orders of Porter, Lector, Exorcist, and Acolyte, to over 30 other seminarians in the Seminary Chapel of the Immaculate Conception.
Major Orders of Deacon and Subdeacon
On the morning of July 6, 7 deacons and 8 subdeacons were ordained during a Pontifical Mass celebrated by the Most Reverend Robert W. Finn. As the clergy and congregation of faithful participated in chanting the Litany of the Saints, the 15 ordinands lay prostrate in humble supplication in the Church of Saints Michael and Gaetano. The new deacons and subdeacons originate from the United States, Canada, Brazil, Argentina, France, and Germany.
Conferral of the Choir Habit and Cross of St Francis de Sales
The new deacons and priests also received from the Prior General the Cross of St. Francis de Sales which is an essential part of the choir habit. This Cross is very similar to the one given by the holy Bishop and Doctor to the Order of the Visitation which he founded. According to the design of the saint, there is no visible corpus, or body of the crucified Christ, on this Cross, because he who wears it is himself to be the living corpus by imitating in his own person the sufferings and patience of Jesus crucified. The Choir habit is worn by the Canons and Deacons, along with the clerical oblate brothers of the Institute, when they gather together in community to chant the Divine Office morning, noon, and evening.
Ordination to the Priesthood
On Thursday, July 7, His Eminence, Raymond Leo Cardinal Burke, Patron of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta, ordained 11 priests—2 Americans, 1 Brazilian, and 8 French. The Pontifical Mass of Ordination was offered in honor of Our Lord Jesus Christ Eternal High Priest. The church was overflowing with hundreds of people for this Liturgy, which edified the assembly by the inspiring combination of the beautiful vestments, the melodious polyphony and chant, and the harmonious ceremonial movements of the ministers in the sanctuary. These highly symbolic rites help the faithful to more fully understand and appreciate the spiritual reality of the holy Priesthood of Our Lord Jesus Christ.
Solemn Benediction and Te Deum of Thanskgiving
That same evening, His Eminence, Cardinal Giuseppe Betori, Archbishop of Florence, offered Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament with Te Deum in the seminary chapel of Gricigliano. This solemn Liturgy of thanksgiving was a fitting spiritual conclusion to a week of abundant blessings for the Institute and for the Church.
Since the whole human person should participate in the joy which grace brings to the soul, a festive dinner was then held outdoors in the seminary villa courtyards and terraces for nearly 1,000 friends of the Institute who had come for this Ordination Week from many European countries, as well as from the Americas. The fireworks display was the climax of this evening of celebration in gratitude to Christ our King for all of the graces received.
The next day, each of the 11 newly ordained priests offered his First Mass in the presence of many family members, friends, and Institute confreres. For the new priests this was the long-awaited moment! Each day of the seven-year formation they had gathered in seminary chapel for Holy and the Divine Office several times each day. Now they have the much anticipated privilege to offer their First Mass in this well-beloved spiritual home.
May God continue to bless the newly-ordained and their families, friends and benefactors who have been supporting their vocation throughout the years! Ad multos annos!
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