Fr. Z’s 25th Anniversary of Ordination

Well… this is it.  I made it this far.

Many priests observe the anniversary of their ordination at this time of year. It is a common time for ordinations, probably because Ember Days were common times for ordinations and Ember Days fall during the Pentecost Octave.

It is my anniversary of ordination today, 25 years ago, by St. John Paul II in St. Peter’s Basilica.  I suppose that might make me a 2nd class relic.


It was not only the Feast of St. Philip Neri, 26 May, but it was also Trinity Sunday. A beautiful sunny day.

I got up that morning, ate breakfast, said my prayers, and walked alone across town to the basilica, where I entered through the main doors with the rest of the crowd. After that, however, I went to the right, to the nave near the Pietà, where we vested and waited for the Holy Father. My family members came separately from a different part of town. They had special tickets which brought them very close to the altar.

Since we were 60 in number, and from many countries, the basilica was absolutely jammed with people from all over the world who had come for the ordinations. The number of people, probably some 50k since it was packed to the gills with families and friends and whole colleges and the inevitable tourists, made the responses during the Litany of Saints flow over us palpably as we lay on the floor. Bl. Mother Theresa of Calcutta was there (in front of where my folks sat) because a couple men were being ordained for the male component of the Missionaries. That group never really got traction. I had arranged for my grandmother, a convert to Catholicism in her 80’s, to receive Communion from the Holy Father.

You have not experienced the Litany of Saints until you have heard it sung by that many people in a space like that.

I often wonder what happened to the other men with whom I was ordained. I only knew a couple of them personally, since I had been at the Lateran University with them. I know that one fellow is now a bishop in Haiti. Also, it was the first year that the Iron Curtain was raised enough in Romania so that a few men were permitted out of the country to come to Rome to be ordained by the Pope. There were quite a few Opus Dei guys ordained with us. Another was the sad, so very sad, John Corapi of the SOLT group. Another of them was ordained that day too. One priest is in England, in Southwark, I think. It would be great to meet with him during some trip. I reached out to a few some years ago and got a few responses. I may try again now that our 25th has come, perhaps by writing to their dioceses or institutes and asking that my letter be forwarded.


God doesn’t choose men who are worthy. He chooses those whom it pleases Him to choose. In regard to myself, it’s all a great mystery to me. I probably won’t get it until I die.

The sermon from the Mass HERE  The video of the sermon for the Mass of Ordination.  The sermon is in Italian.  Listen to the way St. John Paul speaks, even if you don’t understand Italian.  I miss him.

Here is an excerpt from the broadcast of the ordination, the moment of the essential laying of on hands (this plugin might not work for some browsers…

I had trouble with Chrome, but it can be downloaded and viewed, otherwise, in a new Chrome window put chrome://flags/#enable-npapi into the address bar, enable the plugin, and then click the “Relaunch” button at the bottom of the page.  On my Mac, I clicked “download” and it played in a different window.


Anecdote: After our ordination we lined up, new priests on one side of the side nave, all the cardinals and various prelates on the other. The Holy Father came and greeted us all.  To my shock, my boss, the late and great Augustine Card. Mayer who had joined the recessional, came across the nave and, in front of the Roman Pontiff, knelt down and asked for my blessing. It was one of several startling lessons Card. Mayer gave me.


About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
This entry was posted in Linking Back, Mail from priests, Priests and Priesthood, What Fr. Z is up to and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.


  1. excalibur says:

    Dear Father Zuhlsdorf, Happy Silver Anniversary!

    Very grateful for all the internet work that you have done throughout the years, and of course being one of the ‘point men’ to get us better English translations, which is where I entered a long time ago. For many.

  2. Zephyrinus says:

    Dear Fr Z.

    Hi Ho, Silver !!!

    Many, many congratulations on your Anniversary.

    On behalf of the MILLIONS of Souls whom you have served, faithfully, during your Priesthood, THANK YOU.

    Thou art a Priest, forever.

    Onwards to your Golden Anniversary.

    Ad Multos Annos !!!

    Deo Gratias.

  3. Andreas says:

    Sending very best anniversary greetings and felicitations, Father! Alles alles gute aus Österreich!

  4. alnleash says:

    Congratulations, Father, on your 25th anniversary and my heartfelt thanks for your “yes” to the priesthood. Thank you for being our earthly spiritual father and for feeding us. Indeed, what you do as a priest in person and on this site has a profound and positive impact. May our Lord continue to bless and keep you always, Father. I have not met you, but I love you.

  5. Gratias says:

    Dear Father Zuhlsdorf:

    Thank you for your apostolate. You have done much for many of your internet flock.

    You have touched my life.


  6. Back pew sitter says:

    Many congratulations Fr Z!

    Thank you for your first 25 years of priestly service and sacrifice. Ad multos annos!

  7. Luvadoxi says:

    Congratulations Father-how stunning and awesome!

  8. Philomena Mary says:

    Congratulations Fr Zuhlsdorf and many thanks for your years of service. You’ve been a shining beacon of truth and I will always be grateful for your dispersing of knowledge – your blog posting was a huge help throughout my conversion process.

  9. pattif says:

    Ad multos annos, Father!

  10. Fr Tim Edgar says:

    Happy Anniversary, dear Father. Ad multis annos! I will remember you at Holy Mass this evening for Corpus Christi.

  11. ray from mn says:

    A Blessed Silver Jubilee, Fr. Z! And may you have many more. Maybe with the new Ordinary, you might get to return to your home parish. Many pray for that.

  12. iPadre says:

    Ad multos annos Reverendus Pater! I will remember you in the Holy Mass this morning and as I subdeacon Solemn Mass for Corpus Christi.

    Tu es sacerdos in æternum secundum ordinem Melchisedech!

  13. JonPatrick says:

    Happy Anniversary Father!

  14. Grumpy Beggar says:

    Happy 25th Father Z.

    Thank you for answering the call to the priesthood and for keeping Christ present among us. Thank you dear Lord for calling Fr. Z .

    May God bless you with continued strength and health of body, mind and soul.


    Here, ordinations usually take place at St. Patrick’s Basilica or the Marie Reine du Monde Cathedral – which are considerably smaller than St Peter’s – even though Marie Reine du Monde is a scaled model (often called a “replica”) of St. Peter’s. “Scaled”, yet its cupola still reaches 252 ft in height.

    At each of the ordinations which I have been fortunate enough to attend, practically the entire congregation joins in the singing of the responses during the Litany of the Saints . . . an edifying dimension of the faith which is difficult to put into words comes to the fore. If the same amount of people were simply singing the Litany of the Saints – in the same place, it wouldn’t be the same. I believe what really helps set it apart, is that it is done within an ordination.

    I think I might have a scaled-down idea what you are speaking of when you say:

    “You have not experienced the Litany of Saints until you have heard it sung by that many people in a space like that.”

    God bless you Padre.

  15. Mike says:

    God bless you, Father, and happy anniversary! Thank you for sharing these memories, and all you do for the Church!

  16. Praynfast says:

    “Another was the sad, so very sad, John Corapi of the SOLT group.”

    Any way you can try to help him? The evidence points not to Fr. Corapi being the sad one, but rather the leadership of SOLT who “threw him under the bus” (in the words of Bishop Emeritus Gracida, a very respectable and manly bishop emeritus – read his blog posts).

    If I were a priest, and if I was ordained with Fr. Corapi, I would make it my mission to clear his good name. I would also attempt to, at minimum, get his Catechism series back on t.v. and radio. That series alone has saved many souls.

    Fr. Corapi was ambushed by satan, his superiors, and the media. Never leave an ambushed comrade.

  17. Tony McGough says:

    Congratulations, happy anniversary, auguri, and … I bought you a breakfast. Sorry I can’t stretch to a dinner!

  18. Cyrillus Mariae Cheung says:

    Congratulations Father!!! will pray for you and your priesthood. Thank you so much for everything.

  19. Rosary Rose says:

    Happy Silver Anniversary Father! I thank God you answered His call. I am on day 6 of a rosary novena for you. Thank you for this blog and for all you do for the Church.

  20. Gabriel Syme says:

    Happy anniversary Fr Z!

    I enjoyed reading of your ordination day – I bet it seems just like yesterday!

  21. Fr. Timothy Ferguson says:

    Congratulations Father, and may the next 25 years be filled with grace and many blessings!

  22. Suburbanbanshee says:

    Ad multos multos annos! May God give you strength to keep doing His will!

  23. Tamara T. says:

    Congratulations Father! You are a gift to so many and I could not be more grateful. Prayers of thanksgiving for your calling and your “yes”!

  24. Kathleen10 says:

    Congratulations and Stolat Fr. Z! Ad multos annos!
    Recently a loved one had a surgery and our local priest came to the hospital and gave him the Sacrament of the Sick. My loved one had been away from the church for some time. To know he had made his confession and received the sacrament was so wonderful! The realization of how critical priests are for us, no priests, no sacraments, made me spontaneously kiss Father’s hands when he was leaving, in gratitude. Those hands. Your hands.
    God bless you and all our faithful priests and bishops.

  25. MrsMacD says:

    Blessèd be God!
    Blessèd be His Holy Name!
    Saying the Divine praises for you as a small token of appreciation.
    Good priests, like Jesus, can never be repayed, never be outdone. Blessèd be God in his priests!
    Wishing you abundant graces and blessings! May God repay you!

  26. jfk03 says:

    May the Lord Jesus be with yo throughout this day and for eternity. May you follow in His footsteps the rest of your days, and may you have many years. May the blessed Virgin and St Phillip Neri protect you and defend you.

  27. Andrew says:

    Reverende Pater: redeunte fausta hac vitae tuae anniversaria memoria qua vigesimum quintum sacerdotii imples annum, fervidam tibi mitto gratulationem exposcens a divino Pastore vires ad munus tuum prospere persequendum.

  28. msouth85 says:

    Congratulations on your ordination anniversary father! May the Lord bring you many more years of ministry!

  29. liebemama says:

    May God continue to bless you and us through your Priesthood! Congratulations on your anniversary! Thank you , Father!

  30. Legisperitus says:

    Congratulations and happy anniversary, Father!

  31. n1tr0narc says:

    God bless you and your ministry Fr. Z! Ad multos annos!!! Thank you for your tireless work and inspiration all these years…

  32. tominrichmond says:

    Congratulations, Padre. Ad multos annos!

  33. acardnal says:

    Happy anniversary! Thanks for all you do and best wishes in your future endeavors. Continued good health, too! I hope you enjoy a pre-prandial cocktail today!

  34. Kyle says:

    Congratulations, Father Z!

  35. rcg says:

    “Second Class Relic”. I nearly sprayed my coffe on the iPhone.

    Thank you. Thank you.Thank you.Thank you.Thank you.
    Thank you. Thank you.Thank you.Thank you.Thank you.
    Thank you. Thank you.Thank you.Thank you.Thank you.
    Thank you. Thank you.Thank you.Thank you.Thank you.
    Thank you. Thank you.Thank you.Thank you.Thank you.

  36. wcampbell78 says:

    May God bless you and your work for years to come and may He, in a very special way, bless this your silver jubilee.

  37. Deo volente says:

    Tu es sacérdos in ætérnum, secúndum órdinem Melchísedech. Ad multos annos!

  38. RAve says:

    May St. Michael continue to protect and defend you and St. John Paul continue to inspire you, and may the Blessed Mother continue to console you. Thank you for saying yes and for the gift of your priesthood and your life.

  39. JustaSinner says:

    Fr. Z, you look SO YOUNG. I am blessed, no photos exist of me 25 years ago. No photos, no comparisons.
    Congratulations, God has His mysterious ways; with you, not so much!

  40. The Mad Sicilian Geek says:

    Congratulations, Father Z on the 25th Anniversary of your ordination!!!

    May Our Lord continue to bless your ministry and I pray that you have many more years of fruitful ministry in the vineyard of Our Lord.


  41. pray4truth says:

    Congratulations and countless thank yous for being a good, solid, holy priest for 25 years! Your blog has helped my family and me immensely. May Our Blessed Mother continue to protect you and may you be showered with God’s richest blessings :-) We love you, Fr. Z.!!!

  42. Polycarpio says:

    Tanti auguri! Please continue to support tradition and unity.

  43. Now, on to the golden and diamond anniversary!

  44. yatzer says:

    Thank you for saying “yes” and for your help to the rest of us. Congratulations!

  45. Sandy says:

    Congratulations and God’s blessings upon you, Father Z! Only in Heaven will we understand fully the gift of the priesthood. Thank you for your loyality to the Church.

  46. benedetta says:

    Ad multos annos Father! I say it again…

  47. Cajetan says:

    Please allow me to add my congratulations, Father. May the Lord bless you and keep you.

  48. george says:

    Congratulations Father! You have been a Godsend to traditional-minded folks!

  49. seashoreknits says:

    I have no better words than those used by alnleash above:
    alnleash says:
    26 May 2016 at 12:36 AM
    Congratulations, Father, on your 25th anniversary and my heartfelt thanks for your “yes” to the priesthood. Thank you for being our earthly spiritual father and for feeding us. Indeed, what you do as a priest in person and on this site has a profound and positive impact. May our Lord continue to bless and keep you always, Father. I have not met you, but I love you.

    May God continue to bless you richly, dear Father Z.

  50. Packrraat says:

    Happy anniversary!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Thanks for telling us the story of the actual day. How special for all of you. Thanks for making it this far, still faithful to your vows and to the Church. Perhaps I will remember this day is special for you because it is also one of my sister’s birthdays.

  51. Rev. Basil Lawrence, OSB says:

    “Congratulations!” and many blessings on the occasion of your silver jubilee of ordination to the priesthood of Jesus Christ. Your life as a priest has touched and inspired many (and sustained and encouraged some in dark and trying times through their seminary formation and beyond) – gratias ago tibi!

    I offered a Mass for you this morning. May the Lord Jesus Christ continue to shower His choicest blessings and graces upon you! Ad multos annos.

    -Rev. Basil Lawrence, OSB

  52. Janol says:

    Congratulations! Happy Anniversary, Father Z! Thank you for saying “Yes”.

    Lord, thank you. Bless him, keep him close to You.

    “You have not experienced the Litany of Saints until you have heard it sung by that many people in a space like that.” How wonderful!
    Just yesterday I went to Youtube to listen/watch the Litany of Saints during the Funeral of JP2 .

  53. Semper Gumby says:

    Thank you Fr. Z for all your work in the vineyards of the Lord. Ad multos annos.

    (“2nd class relic”- that was great.)

  54. juli says:

    Congratulations and many, many blessings to you!

  55. James in Perth says:

    Dear Father,
    Thank you for sharing your memories of one of the most important days of your life. Very enjoyable read. To be ordained by the Holy Father too!
    I wanted to add to one of your asides that the Missionaries of Charity Fathers are around. Although nowhere near the same in number as the sisters, they have been successful with vocations in India and Mexico.
    I lived in Australia for a while and the son of one of my friends there became a member of that religious community.
    God bless,

  56. James in Perth says:

    I should have added that I ran into a Missionaries of Charity Father when I was in Moscow in 1989. Father Brian Kolodiejchuk, MC is (or was) the postulator for Mother Theresa’s cause for sainthood. I still have the Miraculous Medals he blessed for me. Since he was doing about six Masses all around Moscow, he asked my pastor and traveling companion to take one for him. It was a great Sunday even if we were in Moscow!

  57. Thom says:

    Congratulations on your silver anniversary, Father!

    May the Lord continue to bless you in your priesthood. Ad multos annos!

  58. patergary says:

    Felicitations and God’s blessings on your sacerdotal ordination anniversary. I will remember your intention when I celebrate Mass tomorrow morning.

  59. Ben Kenobi says:

    Thank you very much Fr. Z! Congratulations for all your years of service!

  60. Congratulations, Father!

  61. Georgemartyrfan says:

    Happy anniversary, Father. Sincere thanks for your service.

  62. Aquinas Gal says:

    Congratulations, Father, and prayers for your continued perseverance and ministry. What a grace to have been ordained by a now canonized saint!

  63. cpttom says:

    Happy anniversary Father Z. I certainly appreciate all that you do, and for being a light to those of us who fight the fight in the liturgical trenches. God keep you well and give you many years to your ministry.

  64. VexillaRegis says:

    Congratulations and celebrations, Fr Z!

  65. fishonthehill says:

    Ad Multos Annos!!!
    Second class relic, first class priest.
    Happy 25th !
    Fr. Francis Colamaria, Brooklyn

  66. Blaise says:

    As multos annos plurimosque annos.

    Congratulations Father. Let there be sung ‘Non nobis’ and ‘Te Deum’
    Thank you for accepting His call and persevering in that acceptance.

  67. Ages says:

    Congratulations and many years!

  68. JARay says:

    A very happy aniversary Father. Congratulations. When I was a boy at school, that school turned out many priests and it was always a great occasion when the new Ordinands came back to the school and gave their first blessings to us. It is always something special and that is why your Boss came over to receive your blessing because it is something really special!

  69. q7swallows says:

    Fr. Z,

    You have been so formative in my life and that of my family that there are no words of gratitude sufficient. You supported us in and through some very dark cultural times and through some very dark geo-liturgical ground. You have exhorted and taught and exercised us to become closer and more informed about Our Lord, His Church, her teachings, her liturgies, and her saints. And you’ve inspired us to share those beautiful realities with others. You have given us great courage — mostly in leading by example — to take on His yoke and cultivate His priorities in our everyday lives. Even your fisking of documents, your “too cool” posts, and your dinner party preparations (and all the reasons for them) have been a marvelous education in Catholic living! In fact, if it weren’t for you, we would not be a very active and an incomparably happy part of a Traditional Latin Mass parish today.

    You are one of our heroes because you have been His hero — through attacks from ALL sides. May God reward you with His promised 100-fold return on your cooperative investment.

    Cheers! and long life to you — unto ages of ages.

    I will offer my Corpus Christi Mass, procession, and Benediction tonight in hearty thanksgiving for your 25 years of ‘Yes to His holy priesthood.’ And I will ask the family to do the same.

    Kissing the hem of your cassock . . . .

  70. Charles E Flynn says:

    Congratulations on the twenty-fifth anniversary of your ordination!

    I doubt that any other priest in that group of sixty has prevented as many Catholics who are disappointed with the aftermath of Vatican II from jumping off the starboard rail of the Barque of St. Peter as you have. Christ needed you, he got you, and he might not have had an immediate backup plan.

  71. xsosdid says:

    Congratulations! And look what you have done: great things; world-changing things. God bless and keep you, and may His face shine upon you.

  72. Jack in NH says:

    You’re a ‘relic’, alright! ;^)
    But also first class in my book- congratulations Father Z.!
    AND thank you for all you do here.

  73. WYMiriam says:

    Ad multos annos! May the Divine Shepherd heap blessings on your head.

  74. And with that laying on of the hands by one who would one day be called Saint…God’s army of faithful servants, ontologically changed for all eternity to offer the most august Sacrifice, preach (as you have for as long perhaps as I’ve been following you), and sanctify was given to the world.

    And the world would never be the same.

    What miracles He wrought with that simple gesture. On this Silver anniversary of your ‘fiat’, may you be strengthened in purpose, comforted in running a race well, and one day hear ‘Well done…’

    I know for me, just being able to privileged to read you on a regular basis and take lessons from your insight and true pastoral sensibilities has meant more than you know.

    To your health, Father. Long may your days be, and eternal, when that day comes, be your memory!


  75. Mike C says:

    Congratulations on your silver anniversary!!

    May our Lord continue to pour down his blessings so that you can continue the good works you have been doing! May God grant us more priests too!

  76. Felipe says:

    Thank you so much for your vocation! May God continue to bless you!

  77. Clinton says:

    Father, congratulations on your 25th anniversary. Thank you for all you do!
    Ad multos annos!

  78. Diane says:

    God Bless You on your 25th Anniversary, Father, and may you have many more.
    You are a blessing to all of us.
    That last picture was a beaut!

  79. stephen c says:

    Congratulations and Thank You!

  80. KatieL56 says:

    May God bless you Father Z and give you –and us –at LEAST 25 more years of you in priestly service.

    Thank you so much for all you do. To those of us struggling in the watered down wastelands, the liturgical mesterpieces, the banality of the vanities, you are another Rock like St. Peter for us to cling to and to help us fix our eyes on Our Divine Savior.

    Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

  81. MaryW says:

    May God abundantly bless you on this your Silver Jubilee, and may he grant you many more years. Thank you so much for this blog!

  82. Akita says:

    May Our Beautiful Lady give you succor for the next 25!

    Thank you for your holiness,your boundless energy,your joie de vivre, your sober appreciation of The Four Last Things.

    We love you. You help us on our journey.

  83. Venerator Sti Lot says:

    Belated congratulations, and thank you for this post about it! Many blessed returns of the day!

  84. Mr. Graves says:

    Congratulations and happy anniversary, Fr. Z. May God bless you richly!

  85. Christ_opher says:

    Thank you Father Z.

  86. Skeinster says:

    Congratualtions, dear Father, on this milestone! Many thanks and prayers for your continued ministry.

  87. tianzhujiao says:

    Congratulations Father Z. and thank you for all you do.

  88. Torpedo1 says:

    Congratulations Fr. Z!
    I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again; we would be lost without you and other great priests like you. I pray for you with every rosary and at every Mass and we can’t ever thank you enough. Keep your courage and always keep your amazing faith. God bless and keep you.

  89. Fallibilissimo says:

    Tantissimi auguri Fr Z!
    Ringrazio Dio per il tuo sacerdozio e ti ringrazio per il tuo “sì” a suo invito. Dio ti protegga sempre e che la Madonna ti accompagni.

  90. NBW says:

    Happy Anniversary Fr. Z.!!!!! May God Bless you always!!!!!
    Thank you for choosing the Priesthood. You are helping so many souls learn the faith and get to heaven!

  91. andia says:

    Happy Anniversary, thank you for the gift of your priesthood.

  92. Dear Fr. Z,

    I am sorry to have missed this on the day of your celebration, nonetheless, I want to congratulate you and wish you great graces and blessings. I am very grateful for all you have done in your wen apostolate over the years. You have been a great blessing to my and a help in my perseverance in my faith.
    Thank you most of all for having generously heeded the call of the Lord to the priesthood!

  93. KateD says:

    It’s no mystery to me why He chose you!

    Happy 25th Anniversary, Father!!!!

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