My wife Michelle was ordained to the Episcopal Priesthood this past Saturday. I've been wanting to write about that experience ever since, but I've had a couple of problems in doing so. These problems may be described in relation to Michelle's ordination to the Deaconate six months ago. If you haven't already read about that, I'd invite you to do so now via this link.
The first problem is that, in many ways, this ceremony has a lot in common with that one, as this shot perhaps demonstrates. Especially for those us who aren't "high church" types, it can be difficult to convey the nuances of distinction between one ordination and the other.
The other problem is that, much more so than the previous ordination, this was an extremely social event. As wonderful as the experience was, with the many, many congratulations and expressions of endearment, both my wife and I (being introverts) found ourselves with very little energy after the weekend. Normally, sitting down in front of a computer by myself and writing is something that I do as a matter of course, but I really haven't had the energy to think through what I wanted to say until now.
One difference between the two events that deserves mentioning is the tradition whereby people ask to be blessed by the newly ordained priest after the ordination. Layered on top of that is a tradition whereby the first person to be blessed by the new priest is the priest's mother (the idea is that the mother is typically the person that the new priest has journeyed the longest with), so I was given the task of making sure that Michelle's parents were out in the courtyard outside of St. John's Pro-Cathedral quickly after the ordination, so that Michelle would not have to turn too many other people away!
On Sunday (the day after the ordination), Michelle officiated communion for the first time. As part of that worship gathering, the rector of Michelle's church gave a sermon recognizing the ordination. As the "2nd half" of the sermon, I was asked to offer my own comments. Before speaking, I took the opportunity to snap this picture, and I explained to the congregation that this was both a time of celebration and a holy moment, both of which are things that we should do what we can to remember. If you want to hear what I had to say, you can download a WAV file from the St. James' Episcopal Church web site (Michelle's rector speaks first, and I'm introduced a little more than halfway through).
It perhaps goes without saying that we (that is, not just myself, but Michelle's parents and other friends) took a lot of pictures this weekend. I'm just now getting around to putting them up on a publicly available site. You can find more pictures of Michelle's ordination and her first communion here. If you look in the lower-right of that page, you should also be able to find an RSS link, whereby you can be notified when more pictures are added.