About this blogger:
Ronda Chervin received a Ph.D. in Philosophy from Fordham University and an MA in Religious Studies from Notre Dame Apostolic Institute. A widow, mother, and grandmother, she currently teaches philosophy at Holy Apostles College and Seminary in Cromwell, Connecticut. Write to her at chervinronda@gmail.com.
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“In the 17th century came the crushing blow which destroyed the beauty of all Breviary hymns. Pope Urban VIII (d. 1644) was a Humanist. In a fatal moment he saw that the hymns do not all conform to the rules of classical prosody.”
— Fr. Adrian Fortescue (d. 1923)

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Priestly Ordination at Hartford, Connecticut
published 18 May 2011 by Dr. Ronda Chervin

I have mentioned before that I have trouble with ceremonies, especially longer ones, but Ordinations are different. The first one I saw was in 1960. I was on a tour in Switzerland and going to daily Mass as usual came upon an ordination. Being a convert made it even more stunning.

After teaching at the seminary in Los Angeles, it was different. I actually knew these men. Some of these heroes I had helped pray through their worst moments of doubt about their vocations. The first time it was my late vocation seminarians being ordained I stood in the parking lot tears in my eyes pledging that because these wonderful holy men had gotten through the gauntlet of seminary I would never complain again in my whole life. Well, of course, I didn’t live up to my pledge but, to my joy, coming back to Los Angeles years later, I found those heroes were now the priestly pillars of the archdiocese. They kept their pledge.

Now, when I go to an ordination of seminarians from Holy Apostles, where I teach, I always murmur the same words as I see the throngs of lay people taking their seats and the long procession of bishops, priests, about to be ordained, and seminarians coming up the aisle to the loud organ music and choir. The words I murmur as, 'AND THE GATES OF HELL SHALL NOT PREVAIL.’

The seminarian who invited me was a medical researcher born in South Africa, a huge black man, who migrated to the US and then to our seminary, primarily, for late vocations. The choir learned a song in African for part of the ceremony. There were also 2 songs in Spanish for the hispanic ordinand. Most of the music, however, was traditional chant, some in Latin.

The traditional ceremonial of such extraordinary supernatural meaning, reminded me, however, of something else I love: surprise. I recalled a Mass in Corpus Christi, Texas, for the ordination of Society of Our Lady of the Trinity priests. The vocations director, Fr. Tony Anderson, a thin man in his 40’s, was in the customary line up of all the priests who greet each newly ordained with a hug of peace. One of those just ordained was a large, large, man about 6’4” weighing no one could imagine how much. When Fr. Tony was in High School he was a wrestling champ. But, of course, this was the last thing on anyone’s mind until suddenly at the hug of peace we saw the huge newly ordained priest lifted up into the air into a horizontal position by our thin priest. It was too quick for anyone to clap, but I clapped in my heart because

reverential tradition is magnificent
the freedom of the Spirit in surprise is also…delightful!

Dr. Ronda Chervin has many free e-books and audios on her website rondachervin.com. If you go to her website and read or listen and then want to correspond with her she will be available. Her schedule does not permit, however, responding to comments on the Blog, though she enjoys reading them. Dr. Ronda’s newest project is spiritualityrunningtogod.com.