A Step Closer to the Diaconate

Rite of Admission to Candidacy

O Clarim News Bureau

The journey toward priesthood involves one final step before ordination to the diaconate: candidacy for Holy Orders. According to the Roman Pontifical, “the Rite of Admission is celebrated when it has been established that the intention of those aspiring to Holy Orders is supported by the necessary qualifications and has achieved sufficient maturity.” This intention is to be publicly manifested by the candidate to the ordinary (the bishop) who is the one who accepts the candidate’s intention.

On Saturday, August 26, 2023, seminarians Bosco Chan and Adriano were admitted to the candidacy for Holy Orders. Bishop Lee, the bishop of Macau and the rector of the seminary, presided over the rites of admission during the Mass at the cathedral.  During the rites, Bosco and Adriano declared publicly their desire to be bound in Holy Orders for the service of God and mankind.  It is an indication of their self-offering; a manifestation of their will to serve.

The rite of Admission to Candidacy includes three components: the call to candidacy, the scrutiny of the candidate, and the blessing of the candidate. Envisioned as the moment when the disciples responded to Christ’s call to be with Him, Admission to Candidacy for Ordination as Deacons and Priests is a ritual memorial of the moment when the disciples, hearing the call of Jesus to follow Him, left everything to live in His presence, emulate His relationship with His Father and His love for his people, embrace the life of celibacy that the Son of God chose, live in simplicity, unencumbered by material possessions, do the will of the Father in all things, and learn to walk in the way of the cross. Admission to Candidacy is seen as the intentional and grace-filled beginning of a man’s final period of preparation for the priesthood.

Meanwhile, as the men progress through the formation program at St. Joseph Seminary and preparing as diocesan priest for the Catholic Diocese of Macau, their immersion in preparation for all aspects of priestly life continues.

Like a regular institution of higher learning, seminary life is academic and intellectual; there are classes, exams, papers and a whole lot of reading. However, seminary is not just about going to classes to learn theology and how to be a priest.

Seminary is more about growing as a whole person. Therefore, prayer time, social time and time spent in service to others is just as important as the courses taken by seminarians.

Seminary life is about growing in your prayer life. Building good habits of prayer is one of the main focuses in seminary. Mass and Holy Hours are built into the structure of the daily schedule as well as communal morning and evening prayer.

Seminary life is social and fraternal. A priest must be social; after all, he is ordained for the sake of the people he serves. It is important he learn to be comfortable being himself around others. The brotherly fraternity at the seminary is one of the greatest graces of being there, knowing that every person there is at the seminary for the same singular purpose: to become a priest at the service of Christ and His Church.

Seminary life is challenging. It is meant to stretch and form each individual seminarian to be the best version of themselves for the sake of the people they will one day be called to serve.

The Rite of Admission to Candidacy of Bosco and Adriano  is a pivotal step in their journey to the ordained priesthood. Another step along the way toward ordination for both priests and deacons is the installation as lector and acolyte. Bosco and Adriano have already been installed as lectors and acolytes.