Liturgies with the bishop as the main celebrant are a little more complex than the usual liturgical celebrations when a priest is the main celebrant. Knowing when the bishop wears his mitre or holds his crosier during the liturgy is important. As long as the Master of Ceremony is on top of directing the servers to move at the proper time it all flows smoothly. This creates an environment conducive to prayer.
Rehearsal is part of making things flow easily. This is especially true for larger celebrations that only occur once a year. Holy Week, the Paschal Triduum, the Chrism Mass, and even smaller celebrations like the Rite of Election can test one's memory from year to year. A Mass of Ordination is another example when rehearsal is key.
Last Friday I joined the Director of Worship, Fr. Rob Spaulding, in preparing for the ordination of Deacon Andrew Kinstetter to the priesthood. We rehearsed in the morning and the ordination ceremony took place in the afternoon. Thus, it was all fresh in our minds.
There are different parts of the liturgy at these types of celebrations that strike me. In my own ordination as a deacon I was especially struck by the part when the archbishop handed me the Book of the Gospels. He said, "Receive the Gospel of Christ whose herald you now are. Believe what you read. Teach what you believe. Practice what you teach." That has stuck with me for 17 years.
In the ordination Friday of Deacon Andrew Kinstetter to the priesthood I was struck by the immensity of grace poured upon the new priest as he receives the paten and chalice from the bishop. I accepted these gifts from Andrew's parents and family and brought them to the bishop. He them presented them to Andrew as part of the ritual. The signs and symbols in our liturgical celebrations are powerful indeed.
Fr. Andrew Kinstetter--may God bless you abundantly in your ministry as a priest.