26 May 1991: Ordination

Booklet for the Mass

When this date rolls around, I usually say to myself:

“Well… 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, 29 years ago, by St. John Paul II in St. Peter’s Basilica.  That might make me a 2nd class relic.

It was the Feast of St. Philip Neri, 26 May and also Trinity Sunday.  It was a perfect Roman May 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 ordinands 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.  St. Theresa of Calcutta was there, just in front of where my folks sat.

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, probably some 50k.

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

I arranged for my grandmother, a convert to Catholicism in her 80’s, to receive Communion from the Holy Father.

I often wonder what happened to the other men with whom I was ordained. I only knew a few of them personally, since I had been at the Lateran University with them.

It was the first year that the Iron Curtain was raised a bit.  A few men were permitted out Romania to come to Rome to be ordained by the Pope. There were some Opus Dei guys ordained with us.  Another of the group was John Corapi of the SOLT group, though I didn’t know him at the time. Pray for him.  One priest was ordained for the Archdiocese of Southwark in England. I know that one fellow is now a bishop in Haiti.

I intend to reach out to these men for next years 30th.

This day, especially when I review some of these videos and think about what has happened between then and now, underscores the fact that God doesn’t choose men who are worthy. He chooses those whom it pleases Him to choose.

The sermon from the Mass. The sermon is in Italian and the text is HERE.

I really miss him.

Here are some excerpts from the broadcast of the ordination, which was on national television in Italy.  We have the interrogation, litany and the prayer (form).

Imposition of hands.


About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. Diana says:

    So beautiful. Thank you for sharing this with us, Father! And a happy anniversary to you. May God give you many more years, and may He continue to bless your priesthood and to give you all the strength and virtues you need to continue to be a holy priest.

  2. Hidden One says:

    Congratulations on making it this far!

  3. mamajen says:

    Happy anniversary, Father!

  4. HighMass says:

    What an honor to be ordained by a future Saint. Congrats Father Z. When you listen to the Holy Fathers Sermon, it brings one back to all the, powerful sermons he gave during his Pontificate. How we pray we would have Pope St. John Paul II or Pope Benedict in the chair of St. Peter.

    Thank You for all you do for the faithful and for the resurgence of the Latin Mass. We all know it has to return.

    God Bless You

  5. Joy1985 says:

    Congratulations and Thank You for answering God’s call. Our Priest made hiss 33rd Anniversary Saturday. Thank You Lord for giving us such good, devout, true Priests.

  6. JPaulZ says:

    Happy anniversary! I thank God for your persistence during your years of learning and discernment, that lead to this incredible event. Where would you be today if you allowed yourself to be formed and completed your discernment at the SPS? It may have worked out for you, but God only knows. I believe you benefited greatly from your trials. You have taught me so much through this blog, and when you were assigned to my parish, and I question where I would be in my faith without you.
    God Bless You.

  7. Irish Timothy says:

    God Bless you and congratulations Father! And thank you for saying yes to God when you did!!!

  8. iPadre says:

    Ad multos annos!

  9. DanW says:

    Happy Anniversary!

  10. Clinton R. says:

    Happy Anniversary, Father. Thank you for your priesthood and the constant concern you have for our souls. May the Lord bless you and the Virgin Mary pray for you. May St. John Vianney pray for you. +JMJ+

  11. Andreas says:

    Sending very best wishes from the Tirol on this, your anniversary, Father Z. Heartiest Bravo Zulu! and thank you for your service!

  12. Baritone says:

    Congratulations and happy anniversary!

  13. Semper Gumby says:

    Congratulations and thank you Fr. Z. Ad multos annos.

  14. Fr_Andrew says:

    Just a bit more than 20 years behind you, but I’ll count myself blessed if I can make it 29.

    Forget not the extra collect for yourself, Father, and be sure to collect a nice beverage and dinner to celebrate.

    Ad multos annos!

  15. JoanM says:

    Many cngratulations Fthr z, On Jube 1rh my prist brother Canon Jaes Cunnane will e 615 a priest. I have many clear memories of his ordination in 1955, when I was all of 12 years ol and I had a stroke about 6 days after my huaand I returned to Trinidad after visiting him in Cardigan in Wales for his 6th. I love my brothr dearly.

  16. Mario Bird says:

    1991 was a good year:
    –Fr. Z ordained a priest
    –Clarence Thomas seated on the US Supreme Court
    –Forces of truth and justice prevail in the Fall Classic

    Ad multos annos!

  17. oldCatholigirl says:

    Thanks for hanging in there and your devotion to the truth, Father.

    AMDG ! [We do have a lot to thank the Jesuits for, after all. And there are some good ones left.]

  18. Maria says:

    I miss Pope St. John Paul II. I had this feeling that the church would be okay under him. When he died, I prayed “Lord, who is going to take care of us.” I was so proud as a Catholic because I thought, PJPII would fight for me. I did not understand why I had this feeling. I thank God that he gave us a courageous and faithful Pope. He was truly blessing to humanity.

  19. UncleBlobb says:

    Happy anniversary, Father Z.!!!

  20. kat says:

    Happy anniversary Father!
    Prayers for you!

  21. Mariana2 says:

    Happy Anniversary, Father!

  22. Fr_Sotelo says:

    Laus Deo, for 29 years of priestly service to the Church (even more years than that if you include seminary). Catholic internet would not be the same without your decades of guidance!

    [Thanks for that.]

  23. JonPatrick says:

    Congratulations Father and thanks for all that you do in promoting the Traditional Mass especially these days where it needs support more than ever with the Wuhan virus being used as an excuse to suppress it. May St. Phillip Neri and St. John Vianney intercede for you and all priests.

  24. Fr. Timothy Ferguson says:

    God bless you for your priesthood and your ministry, Father. You have long been an inspiration to me and were a living sign of hope during the years I was “in exitu Israel…”

    My own fifth anniversary is coming up this Friday. Since you were one of the priests who vested me at my ordination, could I consider myself a second-class relic once removed from St. John Paul II?

    In any case, it would seem that we’re both becoming relics!

    [Faster and faster!]

  25. jaykay says:

    Sincere congratulations, Father, and sincere thanks for all you have accomplished (and taught me, in the process!) in this blog.

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