A quick guide to the ordination of a new bishop

April 24, 2012

Bishop-elect Sheltz’ May 2 Mass of Ordination

• Due to limited capacity, seating for Bishop-elect Sheltz’ May 2 Mass of Ordination is limited to ticket holders only. Please visit www.archgh.org/Bishop-Sheltz for photos and video of his Mass of Ordination on May 2.

HOUSTON — How is a priest ordained a bishop? Here’s a quick play-by-play of key highlights of the upcoming Mass of Ordination for Auxiliary Bishop George A. Sheltz:

Reading of the Apostolic Mandate
After more than 350 clergy and Bishop-elect Sheltz process into the Co-Cathedral of the Sacred Heart, an official letter from Pope Benedict XVI calling Bishop-elect Sheltz to ordination as the Titular Bishop of Irina and Auxiliary Bishop of Galveston-Houston is read aloud. 

Promise of the Elect
After a homily by Daniel Cardinal DiNardo, Bishop-elect Sheltz answers questions about his resolve to uphold the faith and full the responsibilities of a bishop, including preaching the Gospel, shepherding the faithful, welcoming the stranger and showing mercy to all in need. 

Litany of Supplication
Bishop-elect Sheltz prostrates himself on the floor before the altar while all present pray for him and the Church.

Laying on of Hands and Prayer of Ordination
Cardinal DiNardo lays hands on Bishop-elect Sheltz, invoking the Holy Spirit. The other bishops in attendance will also impose hands on the bishop-elect. The Book of Gospels is placed over the bishop-elect’s head and Cardinal DiNardo prays the Prayer of Ordination, the words which officially confer the Sacrament of Ordination for the bishop.  In accord with the ancient tradition, Cardinal DiNardo joins to himself two other bishops in celebrating the Ordination. All the bishops present have a part in the raising of the bishop-elect to the ministry of the high priesthood by the laying on of hands, the recitation of the designated part of the Prayer of Ordination, and the greeting with the fraternal kiss.

Anointing of the Head
Cardinal DiNardo anoints the head of the new bishop with Sacred Chrism, signifying his full share in the priesthood. 

Handing on of the Book of the Gospels
As a sign of the preeminent importance of preaching God’s word, the Book of the Gospels which was held over Bishop Sheltz’ head during the Prayer of Ordination is given to the new bishop.  

Investiture with the Insignia
Bishop Sheltz is vested with the signs of his episcopal office: a ring, symbolizing his fidelity to the Church; a miter, or bishop’s hat, which symbolizes his pursuit of holiness; and a pastoral staff, or crosier, which signifies the duty of guiding and governing the Church. 

Te Deum
After Communion, Bishop Sheltz processes through the Church to bless the people present as all sing an ancient hymn of praise to God. 

— David Wood contributed to this report.