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Consecration of Fulton J. Sheen

Consecration as an Auxiliary Bishop
Consecration of Fulton Sheen as Auxiliary Bishop of New York by Cardinal Spellman

Fulton Sheen
ArchBishop Fulton Sheen

Consecration Ceremony          First Blessing

Francis Cardinal Spellman with Sheen
Cardinal Spellman with Sheen


Comments on Ordination

by Bishop Fulton J. Sheen

When the deacons enter the cathedral to be vested, they wear an amice, which was originally a white linen kerchief worn about the neck and the shoulders. When he put it on his head and shoulders, he said the prayer: "Place, O Lord, the helmet of salvation on my head to the defeat of diabolical invasion." Over the amice, he wears the alb, which was the original Roman tunic with long sleeves, around the waist of which he ties the cincture which is the symbol of chastity.

Over the alb is worn a maniple, which in the early days of the Greeks and Romans was a kind of handkerchief worn on the left forearm, used at meals for wiping mouth and hands. The consul during the Roman Empire used it as a sign to start the races in the circus. The Church first used it to wipe communion vessels and hands in the celebration of the Mass. The symbolism of the maniple is to remind the priest of the bonds which once held the hands of the Savior. This is signified in the prayer which is offered when the maniple is put on, begging that the cares and sorrows of earthly life should be borne with patience in view of heavenly reward

Now we come to two vestments which are worn by deacons when they come to the altar for ordination; namely, the stole and the chasuble. The stole originally was a loose robe worn by the ancients, and in this sense the word is still used by the English poets. Thus, Milton pictures Melancholy as having "a sable stole of cypress lawn, over her decent shoulders drawn."

In the Old Testament, the Levites were described as being clad in stoles when conducting the sacred Ark to Jerusalem. In the "Book of the Apocalypse," the saints are "clothed in white stoles." The stole is worn only by deacons, priests, and bishops, but each wears it in a different way, and it is associated with sacred orders. When, however, the deacon enters the Church, the stole is carried only on one shoulder, while over the left arm the deacon carries a folded chasuble. In the right hand, he bears a lighted candle, and in the cincture is a linen cloth, which will eventually be used for tying the hands, after they have been anointed with oil.

During the ceremony of ordination, the bishop draws a part of the stole which rests at the back of the candidate's neck over the breast and lays the two ends crosswise. The chasuble which he carries and which is a symbol of charity, is folded at the beginning of the ordination ceremony, as an indication that the one who wears it is not a priest. At a later point in the ceremony, the chasuble is unfolded. The symbolism of this is that, in the first part of the Mass, the deacon is made a priest and given the power of offering sacrifice to God. In the second part of the ceremony, the chasuble is then let down when he
is empowered to preach and forgive sins. This indicates the more complete. Saint John Chrysostom explains well the reason why priests wear different vestments at the altar than on the street: "When you see a priest offering the Sacrifice, do not think of it as if it were he that is doing this; it is the Hand of Christ invisibly stretched forth." The priest is really only a tool, but he is a tool in the sense that Aristotle called man a living tool. The vestments hide and submerge his own personality so that men may know it is Christ Who teaches, Who governs, and Who sanctifies.



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