Bishop Robert A. Llanos, Diocese of St. John’s-Basseterre will ordain two men to the priesthood during a Mass of Ordination on Thursday, June 29, 2023, at 5:30 p.m. at Holy Family Cathedral, Michael’s Mount, St. John’s, Antigua.
Ordained as Transitional Deacons on December 8, 2022, Rev. Boniface Mutuku Kavita and Rev. George Wacuma Wahiti will be ordained Diocesan priests and will make two promises- celibacy and obedience, while also committing to leading a life of simplicity in concert with the people they serve.
The newly ordained priests will celebrate their first Masses on Sunday, July 2, 2023, at these parishes:
Father Boniface Mutuku Kavita
Holy Family Cathedral
9:00 am Sunday the 2nd of July.
Father George Wacuma Wahiti
Our Lady of Perpetual Help, Tyrells
10:30 am Sunday the 2nd of July
What Happens During the Rite of Ordination to the Priesthood
According to Canon Law (#1010) Ordination to the priesthood shall take place within a Catholic Mass. The rite has a number of distinct parts and is a time of joy and celebration on the part of the newly ordained priest, his family and friends, and all of those who have supported and encouraged him along the journey of his vocation.
1. The Gathering:
As many priest as are available gather gather to help celebrate their fellow brothers joining in the common priesthood of Christ. The candidate(s) also gather adorned in their albs and the Deacon’s stole which is drapped horizontally.
2. Calling of the Candidate:
After the procession into the Church, Opening Prayers and the Liturgy of the Word, the ordaining Bishop calls the priestly candidates by name, who will answer “present” and step forward.
3. Presentation and Inquiry:
The Bishop ensures that candidates have received the necessary training and are worthy for ordination. This is certified by a religious superior and acknowledges they are approved for the sacrament of Holy Orders
Bishop “We rely on the help of the Lord God and our Saviour Jesus Christ, and we choose these men, our brothers, for priesthood in the presbyterial order.”
The people respond “Thanks be to God.”
5.Examination of the Candidate:
Each candidate approaches the Bishop who asks him if he is willing to serve Christ and his Church as a faithful priest.
6. Promises of Obedience:
Hand in hand with the Bishop, the Deacons shall promise obedience to the authority of the Church and to his religious superiors.
7. Chanting of the Litany:
During the singing of the Litany of the Saints, candidates prostrate themselves before the Altar. The prayers of the Litany invoke God’s saving mercy and the intercession of all the saints to send down the Holy Spirit upon the soon to be priests. All present kneel before the Altar including the Bishop.
8. Laying of the Hands:
At this point the Bishop ordains the candidate by laying his hands on the top of his head to invoke the Holy Spirit in the new priest.
9. Priesthood of Christ:
The other priests present will be invited to then lay their hands on the newly ordained priest. This signifies that they all participate and belong in one priesthood with Jesus Christ.
10. Vesting of the New Priest:
The newly ordained priest removes his deacon stole and is presented his priestly Stole and Chasuble. A member of the priesthood assists in vesting the new priest.
11. Anointing of the Hands:The Bishop then anoints the palms of the new priest with the oil of chrism.
“The Father anointed our Lord Jesus Christ through the power of the Holy Spirit. May Jesus preserve you to sanctify the Christian people and to offer sacrifice to God.”
The oil is then wiped off with a linen cloth.
12. Presentation of the Gifts:
The gifts of Bread and Wine are brought to the Altar for the celebration of the Eucharist. The new priest receives the Paten (holds the body) and Chalice (holds the wine) from the Ordaining Bishop. As the priest receives the gifts, the Bishop says:
“Accept from the holy people of God the gifts to be offered to Him. Know what you are doing, and imitate the mystery you celebrate: model your life on the mystery of the Lord’s cross.”
13. Liturgy of the Eucharist:
After the Ordination Rite the Mass and celebration of the Eucharist will continue. The newly ordained will now assist in concelebrating the Eucharistic Mass with the Bishop.
14. First Priestly Blessing:
Prior to the conclusion of the Mass, newly Ordained priests- in accordance to tradition- prays over the Ordaining Bishop. After the closing prayer and procession, The newly ordained shall bless their fellow priests and members of the laity.
15. End of Mass Procession and Reception:
Once Mass has concluded, the ordained gives their first blessing over everyone present and sends them forth to be messengers of the Good News. A reception is held in the honour of the new priests to celebrate over food and drink.