26 May 1991: 31st anniversary of 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, 31 years ago, by St. John Paul II in St. Peter’s Basilica.  That might make me a 2nd class relic.

Today is Ascension Thursday.  Glorious. On 26 May 1991 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.

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.

I ask for your prayers today and in an ongoing way for my cares, health, and future.  Pray for canceled priests.

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{]:¬)
This entry was posted in Linking Back. Bookmark the permalink.


  1. Littlemore says:

    Father thanking you and all the other ordinands for your priesthood. Ad multos annos.

  2. Gab says:

    Ad multos annos, Father Z!

    How glorious to have two living Saints praying for you that day.

  3. NoraC says:

    Each year when the memorial of Philip Neri rolls around, I am privileged to know to pray for you. Once again, this year, with joy and gratitude for your priesthood.

  4. ajf1984 says:

    Praying for you on this blessed day, Father, in gratitude for your “Yes” to Our Lord’s call and for your ministry to all of us, both in person and in the Parish of St. Blog’s. Ad multos annos!

  5. Gregg the Obscure says:

    ad multos annos!

  6. Fr. Charles A. F. says:

    Said a prayer for you. Ad plurimos annos!

  7. Sandy says:

    Many, many blessings this day, Father, and all your days! Mother Mary hold Father close to your heart and keep him safe body and soul. Amen

  8. JPaulZ says:

    My prayers for you every day and a special prayer today. May Jesus Christ keep you close to His heart and bless you abundantly in time and in eternity.

  9. InFormationDiakonia says:

    Many, many more years Father Z. May the joy of the priesthood remain with you now and forever.

    Thank you for the insights provided by your blog!

  10. LBRoman says:

    May the blessings of Almighty God and Mary Most Holy be with you today and forever! With prayerful best wishes, Father Zuhlsdorf!

  11. MichaelM says:

    Ad multos annos, Father Z

    I’m sure, like myself, there are some of us out here that don’t comment much – but follow you daily and faithfully. Your consistent and passionate support for the VO/TLM is truly a blessing for all Catholics. Your daily writings have blessed me personally many times. In the past I’ve been admittedly weak and prone to mortal sin many times. I’m still weak but much less prone to mortal sin – I accredit this to your fervent discourse regarding confession – I now go weekly and it’s changing my life. Have a wonderful anniversary and know that you have blessed many lives. I will pray for you today as you asked as well as for cancelled priests. God Bless you Fr Z!

  12. CasaSanBruno says:

    Auguri! I’ll remember you in my Low Mass today.

  13. Andreas says:

    May God’s goodness and kindness be with you, and may he bless you on this most special of days and all those to come. Heartiest congratulations and Bravo Zulu, Father!

  14. Fr. Timothy Ferguson says:

    Ad multos, plurimosque annos!

  15. hwriggles4 says:

    Fr. Z:

    First, Happy Anniversary!

    Second, you reminded me that on June 30 my Priest-in-Charge will celebrate his tenth anniversary of his ordination (he was ordained with five others under the Pastoral Provision).

    Third, I never really figured out the Apostolic Succession until 2004 when a friend of mine from college was ordained a priest for the Diocese of Austin (my reversion story began at Texas A and M). All the priests and Bishop Aymond (now Archbishop of New Orleans) doing the laying of the hands. My friend is now a pastor in one of the suburbs of north Austin.

    The last few ordinations I attended (sadly one I attended in 2014 one priest has since left the priesthood) I make sure I pay close attention to the laying of the hands. This is one tenant that makes us Catholic. Fr. Z, Thanks for the reminder of priestly ordination and your 31 years has definitely saved souls.

  16. Ms. M-S says:

    This anniversary is something for all of us to celebrate! Thanks for making it so easy, by way of those posted morning offerings and the prayer for priests, for us to pray daily for your intentions, works, recovery, and relocation.

  17. pannw says:

    Ad multos annos, Father! May God bless you and keep you. Thank you for your service to Our Lord and His Church.

  18. Sportsfan says:

    Thank you for continuing to answer the bell.

  19. Senor Quixana says:

    Congratulations on having made it so far and thank you.

  20. ahcollier says:

    Congratulations, Father! I was commissioned in the US Navy 31 years ago on 17 May 1991, and while there are substantial ontological differences in commissioning vs. Ordination, there are some outward similarities in terms of ceremony and feeling like you are finally embarking on the great vocation towards which you strove many years. Congratulations and thank you for all you do! Laudate Jesus Christi, Andy in Tokyo

  21. kurtmasur says:

    Congratulations, Father. Btw, the last 2 videos are private (in case it’s possible to make them public).

  22. Kathleen10 says:

    That is a really outstanding photo, of you and Pope JP II.
    Thank you for being a priest and being a great priest. It’s hard to thank a priest for the sacrifice they make of their entire lives. How can you thank a man for that. Every week when we leave Mass I thank the priest who said the Mass. It’s impossible to be grateful enough. When I think of praying for priests, your name is typically first on my list.
    How much you’ve done for God and for the faith. How many souls will go to heaven because of your efforts on this blog. How many have improved their relationship with God or increased their understanding of the faith? So many, surely. Fr. Z it’s been such a rough couple of years for most of us. Full of change and turmoil and things we didn’t expect or want. We’re still here, thanks be to God, marching on. God bless all of us but today especially God bless you and yours. Congratulations and thank you!

  23. grateful says:

    May Sts JPII and Philip Neri always pray for you.
    May Jesus and Our Blessed Mother always keep you united to their hearts
    We all thank God (and your parents) for giving us such a holy dedicated priest
    (and his sense of humor).

  24. JonPatrick says:

    Congratulations Father and may your ministry continue for many more years!

  25. Not says:

    Remember you and all our great Priest daily with our Prayer for Priest prayer.
    Your comments and articles are right on..Ecclesiastes 10:2 “The heart of the wise inclines to the right, but the heart of the fool to the left”

  26. Unfinished says:

    Very cool. Thanks for sharing. Ad multos annos, Father.

  27. Discipula says:

    Happy anniversary a day late!

    St. Philip Neri is one of my favorite saints, so now I have two reasons to rejoice on his feast day. Glorious!

  28. Rob83 says:

    Happy anniversary, we will continue to pray that you be upgraded to a 1st class relic in due time.

  29. JamesM says:

    Ad multos annos!

Comments are closed.