Ordination 101: What to watch for

On Tuesday, Feb. 14, Bishop-elect Patrick Neary, C.S.C., will be ordained as the 10th bishop of the Diocese of St. Cloud during a 1 p.m. Mass at the Cathedral of St. Mary.

What are some things we’ll see during the Mass? Read below to learn some of the key terms and facts associated with Bishop-elect Neary’s ordination.


Solemn Vespers

  • When: 5:30 p.m. Monday, Feb. 13
  • Where: Cathedral of St. Mary and via livestream
    Reception to follow in the lower church
  • All are invited to attend Vespers.

Ordination and Installation Mass

  • When: 1 p.m., Tuesday, Feb. 14
  • Where: Cathedral of St. Mary and via livestream
  • Due to limited capacity, entry to the ordination Mass is by invitation only.
  • The ordination and Vespers will be livestreamed. Visit stcdio.org/new-bishop for the link when it is available.


Bishop: Bishop is the highest order of ordained ministry in Catholic teaching. A bishop oversees the ministerial and administrative life of a diocese. He serves as spiritual leader of all the faithful of a diocese. Bishops are direct successors of the apostles, a term called “apostolic succession,” which traces the authority of each bishop back to the Twelve Apostles.

Episcopal ordination: If a newly elected bishop is a priest and not yet a bishop from a different diocese, he will be consecrated as a bishop through ordination.

Installation: The Mass where the newly appointed bishop officially becomes bishop of the diocese.

Crosier: A crosier is a staff carried by the bishop that symbolizes his role of governance. Its shape is inspired by a shepherd’s crook, and thus the crosier is a symbol of the bishop’s role as shepherd of his flock, the diocese. During ordination, the ordaining bishop presents the crosier and says: “Receive the crosier, the sign of the pastoral office, and keep watch over the whole flock in which the Holy Spirit has placed you as Bishop to govern the Church of God.”

Miter: A miter is a special hat worn by the bishop. He receives his miter at ordination.

Pectoral Cross: A pectoral cross is the cross that the bishop wears around his neck. It serves as a reminder to remain close to Jesus.

Cathedra: This is the term that refers to the bishop’s chair in a cathedral.

Coat of arms: Each bishop chooses a coat of arms as a special insignia of his episcopacy.

Ring: Each bishop wears a ring that is a reminder of his participation in the ministry of the apostles. Similar to a wedding band, it represents the bishop’s commitment, as though he is wedded, to his diocese. When the ring is presented during ordination, Archbishop Bernard Hebda of St. Paul and Minneapolis, who will be the principal ordaining bishop, will say to Bishop Neary, “Receive this ring, the seal of fidelity: adorned with undefiled faith, preserve unblemished the Bride of God, the holy Church.”

Chrism oil: During the ordination Mass, Archbishop Hebda will anoint Bishop Neary’s head with chrism oil, saying: “May God, who has made you a sharer in the High Priesthood of Christ, himself pour out upon you the oil of mystical anointing and make you fruitful with an abundance of spiritual blessing.” The chrism oil comes from the chrism Mass, which is celebrated each year just before Easter.

Vespers: Vespers, also known as Evening Prayer, is a part of the Liturgy of Hours, which are prescribed times during the day for prayer. At Vespers on Feb. 13, the bishop-elect will knock on the doors of the cathedral. The cathedral door represents Christ, as Jesus is always the door through which we walk. Father Scott Pogatchnik, the rector of the cathedral, will open the door to greet Father Neary, at which time he becomes the pastor of the cathedral.


  • Steven Warner, a composer and friend of Father Neary from the University of Notre Dame,
    is writing a bilingual song for the ordination. The song will include both the diocesan mission statement and Scripture verses from the ordination Mass.
  • Brother Paul Bednarczyk, C.S.C., the superior general of the Congregation of Holy Cross,
    the religious order to which Bishop-elect
    Neary belongs, will be traveling to St. Cloud from Rome for his ordination.
  • Father William Lies, C.S.C., a native of Little Falls, is provincial superior of the U.S. Province of Priests and Brothers of Holy Cross. His twin brother, Jim, also is a Holy Cross priest. The two along with Father Gilbrian Stoy, C.S.C., another Little Falls native, will attend the ordination.

Author: Gianna Bonello

Gianna Bonello is a multimedia reporter for The Central Minnesota Catholic Magazine.

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