Saturday’s ordination

Vatican flags are out at the entrance of the cathedral of St. Catherine in Utrecht

On Saturday I had the pleasure of being present at the presbyteral ordination of Father Anton ten Klooster and Father Wouter de Paepe in Utrecht. Travelling down there with a friend meant getting up quite early, but I always think that an occasion of such value for the Church in the Netherlands is worth getting up early for. New priests were also ordained in Haarlem, Den Bosch and Roermond. 

Archbishop Eijk lays his hands on Anton ten Klooster, ordaining him to the priesthood

It was a long Mass, as is usual for such occasions, celebrated by Archbishop Wim Eijk in concelebration with Father Patrick Kuipers and Father Norbert Schnell, the current and former rectors of the Ariënskonvikt, as well as the priests working in the parishes where both new priests also already work. Many other priests of the archdiocese, as well as the two auxiliary bishops, were also present in the sanctuary. 

The congregation was large, filling up the entire cathedral. That is sadly a rare occurrence, but it was comforting to see that many people had come to witness the ordination of their future pastors. 

This is just the part of the cathedral in front of us. More people were in the back half.

The magnificent cathedral choir added much to the dignity and festivity of the Mass. Their contribution was beautiful. 

Another beautiful moment in any ordination Mass happens just after the reading from the Gospel (Mark 11: 27-33 that day). Father Kuipers asked both men to come forward and declare their presence and then formally asked the archbishop to ordain them for the heavy task of the priesthood. The archbishop then asked if they are worthy, to which the reply is hat, based upon the questioning of the people and the judgement of those responsible they have been found worthy. That moment, after six years of education and formation, and many more years of discernment, is the moment a man knows that he his indeed called to the priesthood: the Church confirms it, and the bishop formally elects them for the order of the priesthood. 

After the homily, the future priests are formally asked to make the necessary vows – to shepherd the flock of the Lord, to preach the Gospel and explain the Catholic faith with dignity and wisdom, to celebrate the mysteries of Christ with dedication and loyalty, especially in the sacrifice of the Eucharist and sacrament of reconciliation, to pray for God’s mercy over the people entrusted to them by following the Lord’s commandment to ceaselessly pray, and to join closer to Christ every day – and promises – of loyalty and respect to the bishop and his successors. Then the intercession of all the saints is requested through the Litany of All Saints. During that the archbishop kneels in front of altar, while the future priests lie facedown on the ground behind him – a gesture of total submission to God. Then the bishop silently places his hands on the head of the future priests and then prays that God may ordain them in a lengthy prayer. After that, both men are dressed in stole and chasuble, the outward apparel of the priest. 

During that whole process it is so clear, through the words and the rituals, that this is more than a matter between people. The Holy Spirit is at work then, and through the consecration of the bishop the spirit descends over two men, elevating them to the priesthood, to act as alter Christus among His people. 

During this Mass, the choir sang Here I am, Lord, a song I didn’t know and the style of which is usually not really my taste, but emotionally it was perfect at that place in the liturgy. The video below is the best version I could find which was not a solo version of the song. 


Once in full priestly regalia and taken into the ranks of their brother priests, the two new priests’ hands are anointed and they receive the gifts which they will sacrifice to the Lord for the rest of their lives: the bread and wine which may now be consecrated through their hands. 

Mass then continues as usual with the Liturgy of the Eucharist, albeit extra solemn and festive of course. The new priests’ joy and gratitude must’ve been visible to those around them: it certainly was to everyone as they processed out: especially Father Wouter sported a large smile. 

The reception, where everyone had the chance to congratulate the new priests was in a church down the street: a protestant church which nonetheless housed an icon of St. Nicholas…


Stats for May 2010

Last month saw a bit of a drop in visitors, which I think is due to some days when I was unable to post much and the mere fact that there simply wasn’t as much news as in earlier months. The blog has a total of 3,437 visits, which brings the total since the start of the year to 18,807. It looks like we may break the 20,000 before the mid-point of the year.

The ten most popular posts were the following:

1: A gentle pope, but rock solid in the execution: 221
2: “Someone is more likely to get pregnant from kissing than a paedophile because of celibacy”: 87
3: Welcome news from the Vatican Information Service: 57
4: Introductie op de geest van de liturgie: 56
5: Cardinal Newman to be beatified by the pope, officially announced: 54
6: Muslim worship in a Catholic church: 49
7: Ascension Day: 46
8: Some facts about the Turin shroud: 43
9: “I did not want this disurbance” – Fr. Luc Buyens’ homily: 41
10: “Religious education should be about Jesus”: 39

The Msgr. Gänswein fan club was out in force. The interview with him and the profile I did were linked from one or two fora and fan sites dedicated to the pope’s personal assistant. In search terms we see that as well: No less than 178 searches on Msgr. Gänswein led people to this blog. Another oddly popular search term was ‘yellow warbler’, used 26 times. And then finally, the upcoming papal visit to the UK in September seems to gain momentum: Cardinal Newman, who will be beatified then, was searched for 33 times.

Lastly, I’m still quite pleased to see that the translation of Msgr. Marini’s address about the liturgy remains popular.