The Mississippi Catholic newspaper online had this photo on it's front page. It's from the Diaconate Ordination from two weekends ago.
First, congratulations to our three transitional deacons. Transitional deacons are men who will be ordained as priests. A "permanent deacon" is a man who is ordained to the diaconate but will not continue on to priesthood. A deacon is one of the three holy orders: Deacon, Priest and Bishop. Not all deacons will be priests or bishops but every priest and bishop (except the Bishop of Rome, but that's another story)* has been a deacon.
The men were not ordained by Bishop Latino. He is still in recovery from surgeries and at the Methodist Rehab in Jackson. Bishop Houck, known as the "former bishop" was the ordaining bishop.
The men ordained were of various locales. As the Mississippi Catholic says: Binh Nguyen of Vietnam, José de Jesús Sánchez of Mexico and Rusty Vincent of Pearl, Mississippi.
It was important to mention the nationalities because it represents the diversity of our clergy. As the Mississippi Catholic says:
Bishop Houck became emotional as he pointed out that these men represented the Universal Church, each bringing their gifts and the gifts of their cultures to the diocese.
Now some style points concerning the Mississippi Catholic photo.
The men are lying prostrate. This is a sign of humility and submission. The "Litany of Saints" is sung during this time. However, to me, it looks a bit dry up there. They are humbled but before..what? The altar? Maybe.
But the altar is not the main element of the sanctuary. And as much as it should be treated with great respect it does not have the same importance as one other element. That element is the central focus of our liturgy...the presider's chair?
No. But yes, here it is. As much as the Vatican 2 screeching goes: "THE PRIEST IS NOT THE MOST IMPORTANT PERSON IN THE CHURCH", it sure is funny that the priest now is facing the people, chatting it up with the people, dancing and singing for the people, being a big ol' center of attention for the people...OUT OF HUMILITY! And sitting/kneeling/sitkneeling around the altar and chair are priests, deacons, servers, Mary Woodward all focused toward the center...
And right in the center, where there's a chair...that's where the...wait for it....
TABERNACLE used to be.
It is in the tabernacle that the body of Christ resides. This is the place where the precious body of our Lord is reposed for our adoration and worship. This is the CENTRAL SACRAMENT of our faith and the SOURCE and SUMMIT of our faith.
And the altar and chair are empty here. The tabernacle (located over to the left if I recall) has Christ inside.
I know on Good Friday I lie prostrate on the altar and there's no sacrament in the tabernacle when I do so. But the symbol is of sorrow and lying among the dust.
When someone is ordained to serve at the Eucharist, I just think there should be a little Eucharist up there to serve.
*NB: Any Catholic male having reached the age of reason may be elected pope. I may have to be corrected on this but I believe before he is ordained "Bishop of Rome" which is technically "Pope", then he would be ordained deacon, priest and bishop. Arguably, the only man who was pope and not ordained was St. Peter. But I said "arguably".