KNOXVILLE—What turns an ordinary man into a Catholic priest, who is able to celebrate Mass, administer the sacraments, and offer God’s forgiveness to sinners?
Come and see at 10 a.m. Saturday, Nov. 14, at Sacred Heart Cathedral (711 Northshore Drive, Knoxville 37919), when Bishop Richard F. Stika ordains Deacon Christopher Riehl to the Catholic priesthood.
Deacon Riehl, 32, is a graduate of St. Charles Borromeo Seminary in Wynnewood, Pa. He and his family are longtime residents of Talbott. He and his father, John Riehl, were ordained to the diaconate on May 18, 2007, in perhaps the first father-and-son diaconal ordination in U.S. history.
Deacon Riehl will be the 37th priest ordained for the Roman Catholic Diocese of Knoxville and the second by Bishop Stika.
An ordination Mass is rich in beauty and symbolism. The ordinand (the man about to be ordained) will place his hands in those of the bishop, making solemn promises of respect and obedience to Bishop Stika and his successors.
The ordinand then prostrates himself on the floor, in a gesture of humility to God, while the assembly chants the Litany of the Saints, a sung prayer in which the people ask all the saints in heaven to join in prayer with them.
In the tradition of the Apostles, the bishop places his hands on the ordinand’s head and prays in silence. This ancient biblical gesture signifies the conferral of Holy Orders through the gift of the Holy Spirit. It is the moment in which a man becomes a priest of Jesus Christ.
Soon after, the ordinand will be vested in priestly garb (a stole and chasuble) for the first time. The bishop will
anoint the new priest’s hands with chrism—a mixture of olive oil and balsam—to indicate that the priest now shares in the mission of Christ to bless, consecrate, and sanctify.
You’re invited to witness these rituals—and the many other elements of an ordination Mass—this Saturday.
For more information, call Deacon Sean Smith at 865-584-3307.