Pre-ordination thoughts

I’m getting ready in the next few days to go on retreat before my ordination to the priesthood. There is a certain familiarity about the whole thing since the administrative side is very similar to last year when I was ordained deacon. My parishioners are getting a coach to come and watch me be made into ‘a proper vicar’, presumably as opposed to the improper vicar they see now!

The question everyone seems to be asking is whether I’m excited. Am I? There is not nearly as much change to come as a result of this ordination as there was last year. In the last month I haven’t had to move house, or start a new job, or get to know hundreds of new people all at once. I won’t have a whole new uniform for work on Monday – the dog collar took quite some time to get used to. The service will be much as last year, but this time I will know many more of the people there. Colleagues I had just met last year have become friends this year. It will definitely be a special time, but excitement isn’t the word. Maybe anticipation.

The only really new thing is presiding at Eucharist. Excitement definitely isn’t the word there. Nervousness is, not fear, but definite nervousness. So many things to remember, so many movements to coordinate with words, so much potential for clumsiness. And I’ll be wearing a chasuble… a big, thick poncho-type thing over a cassock-alb, over normal clothes, in the middle of summer! If I get to the end without collapsing from heat exhaustion that will be a miracle. I’m dealing with this in my usual way – assuming that I will forget everything that isn’t written down, and so making very sure that it is written down. My print-out of the Eucharistic prayer has stick-figures drawn all over it. I had a run-through of the logistics with the head server yesterday. It was scary enough standing behind the altar and looking down at an empty building. Can’t imagine how it is going to be with a packed (I hope) Church. Thank God none of us do things like this alone.

One very strange thing is realising that the ordination is the fulfilment of a calling I heard five years ago. If God said then, “you are going to be a priest”, I wonder what he’ll say next.

I’m off to one of the local schools now to talk about Pentecost. This time last year that would have had me in a flat panic. Bodes well…

6 thoughts on “Pre-ordination thoughts

  1. Wow! My prayers and congratulations are with you! May you feel the peace of the risen Christ around you as you take this massive step! Well done!

  2. I don’t, as far as I know, know you but found your blog a while ago, (no idea how), lost it & have just rediscovered it via the CT twitter….Your first Eucharist will be amazing – regardless of how the walk throughs make you feel, regardless of the heat, regardless even of the possibility that you might (as I suspect I did) actually omit the words of institution. The thing I was unprepared for was the huge sense of the communion of saints surrounding me …and, wonderfully, they keep on turning up at most celebrations, even 5 years on. Have a blessed retreat, watch out for the Bishop anointing your hands during the ordination – and then go off and be a blessing.

  3. Thank you for sharing your thoughts; fascinating to read — and thanks for the honesty. My prayers, love and best wishes are with you.

    As we shout in Orthodoxy at an ordination, “Axios!” [“Worthy!”]; God grant you many, many years!

  4. Good luck! Shame we’re not having a Eucharist at the wedding, then you could have presided at that too! 😉
    Thinking of you this weekend and hope all goes well! See you next week.

  5. PS from my point of view it’s also very reassuring to find someone else thinking the same thing about empty and full buildings. Nervous. Me?! At least I get to keep my back to the congregation most of the time!

Comments are closed.