26 May 1991: 32nd anniversary of ordination

Booklet for the Mass

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

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

“Well… I made it this far.”

On 26 May 1991, the Feast of St. Philip Neri, it was also Trinity Sunday.   It is a wonderful synchronicity that the parish in Rome to which I am so attached, is both the place of St. Philip Neri’s great work and also in honor of the Most Holy Trinity.

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, my health, and my future.  Pray for canceled priests.  And please, in a special way, pray for the mother of a priest, my own.

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. DvdH says:

    Happy anniversary of your ordination, Fr Z! Prayed for you and your mum at Mass this morning.

  2. JonPatrick says:

    Happy Anniversary Father!

  3. Liz says:

    Happy Anniversary, Father. I will say extra prayers for you today.

  4. giveglory says:

    Happy Anniversary, Fr Z!
    Throughout my journey to Tradition beginning at St Agnes and currently at St Joseph’s, you have been a source of inspiration, consolation, and entertainment!
    May God bless you always. I pray for you by name every day!

  5. Dave P. says:

    Ad multos annos, pater!

  6. Elizabeth R says:

    Ad multos annos!

  7. Sandy says:

    Many blessings and answered prayers on your anniversary, Father, for all of your intentions! (I miss him too! Just seeing his picture here brings tears to my eyes; how far we have gone since then.)

  8. Son of Saint Alphonsus says:

    Ad multos annos frater.

    I was 25 years ordained on May 9.

    May our dear Mother of Perpetual Help be mother to all her sons.

  9. ordovirginum says:

    Happy anniversary, Father!
    What a grace!
    You are prayed for everyday.

  10. Not says:

    Sorry I missed this. Many Prayers for you and your Priesthood and your good Mother. A Mother’s blessing to have a son as a Priest.

  11. Venerator Sti Lot says:

    A last-minute Happy Anniversary while it is still 26 May in the Central European Summer Time zone! Ad multos annos, pater!

  12. IaninEngland says:

    Yes, indeed! Happy anniversary!

  13. waalaw says:

    I distinctly remember how emotions overcame you when you offered Mass at St. John Paul II’s altar in the Holy Land — beside the Church of the Primacy of St. Peter — just over 3 years ago.

  14. Diane says:

    Wow. Congratulations Father Z on the 32nd Anniversary of your Ordination. I am honored to read your posts each day and pray for you. Thank you for all that you do for all of us. God bless you.

  15. pannw says:

    I’m glad I saw this in time, at least where I am, and was able to say a prayer for you, and your mother, on the anniversary of your ordination. Thank you for accepting the call of Our Lord to work in His vineyard. May God reward you.

    Ad multos annos!

  16. PostCatholic says:

    Ad multos annos. That you still find joy in your vocation is indication that it is well-chosen. May the year ahead be rewarding

  17. Saint110676 says:

    Belated congratulations, I will remember you as I celebrate my own anniversary on June 4. Definitely we are not fated in our ministry to die of boredom, for sure.

  18. Saint: Boredom… yeah! Thanks for the belated greetings and all the best for your own perennial observance.

  19. mburduck says:

    Happy Anniversary, Father. You were ordained on my birthday, too, which reminds me I’m getting old…. For the record, I was born well before the year of your ordination!


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