|Holy Orders Home
Sacrament of Holy Orders
Litany of the Saints
The Order of Porter
The Ostiariate -- the 1st of the Minor Orders
|According to the Traditional
Catholic Rite of Holy Orders
by A. Biskupek, S.V.D
Mission Press, 1954
May 4, 1942 Charles Michel, S.V.D. Provincial
May 4, 1942 + Samuel A. Stritch, D.D.
Archbishop of Chicago
In the Old Testament Levites were appointed to keep the gates
of the tabernacle and later of the temple; they also had charge of the sacred
vessels (1 Paral. 9, 26). The sacredness of the house of God in the New
Testament and of the vessels used for the celebration of the divine mysteries
calls for at least the same care and safekeeping. The ostiarii were the
doorkeepers or porters of the church. The word is derived from the Latin ostium,
The office was of special importance during the times of persecution. Reliable
men were needed to inform the faithful of the time and place of the divine
services, to open and lock the doors, to keep out undesirables. In later times
the ringing of bells sufficed for the purpose of informing the faithful of the
time of the divine services, since there was no further need of informing them
of the place.
Opening of the book for the preacher, mentioned as one of the duties of the
porter, must also be understood in the light of earlier times. Those ancient
rolls were not as handy as a modern book, but often heavy and of considerable
size, and the place for reading could not be found as readily. The porter,
therefore, would carry the book to the ambo and open it for the preacher. In the
course of time the care of the sacred vessels was also entrusted to porters,
which gave the order added importance.
It seems probable that up to the fourth century porters were not ordained, but
simply appointed. In our days the duties of porters are usually performed by
sacristans, ushers, and janitors.
If the ostiariate is conferred during Mass, this is done:
Saturday before Passion Sunday: after the Kyrie.
Holy Saturday: after the Gloria.
On other days, if the Mass has Gloria: after the Gloria; if the Mass has no
Gloria: after the Kyrie.
The Call. The bishop, with his miter on, sits on the
faldstool before the middle of the altar. The archdeacon bids the candidates
come forward; the notary reads their names:
Let those come forward who are to be ordained to the order
of porter: N. N. etc.
Each one answers, adsum, goes before the altar and kneels, holding the
burning candle in his right hand.
The Instruction. When all are assembled, the bishop
address them as follows:
Dearly beloved sons, you are about to receive the order of
porter. Behold what you must do in the house of God. The duty of the porter is
to ring the bells, to open the church and sacristy, and to open the book for the
preacher. Take good care, therefore, lest anything in the church perish through
your negligence. Open the house of God to the faithful at the appointed hours,
and always shut it to unbelievers.
Here the candles are laid aside.
As you open and shut with material keys the visible church, let it also be your
endeavor by your word and example to shut to the devil and open to God the
invisible house of God, namely, the hearts of the faithful, that they may keep
in mind the word of God which they have heard and carry it out in deed. May the
Lord in His mercy accomplish this in you.
The Bestowal of the Office. The bishop presents to
each one the keys of the church. They touch them with the right hand, while the
So act, even as about to give an account to God of the
things which are kept under these keys.
The archdeacon, or the one who takes his place, now conducts the candidates to
the door of the church, which they lock and unlock; then to the tower, where the
bell rope is handed them, and each rings the bell with one stroke. Should thee
be no tower, or should the tower be too far away or too difficult of ascent, the
sacristy bell, or a small bell, placed at the church door, may be used. The
candidates are then conducted back to the altar.
Prayer. The porters kneel, while the bishop, with
miter on, turned to the ordained, prays:
Dearly beloved brethren, let us fervently beseech God, the
Father Almighty, to + bless these His servants,
whom He has deigned to elect to the office of porter; may they with utmost care
attend to the house of God, by day and night and announce the hours appointed
for divine services, through the help of our Lord Jesus Christ, who lives and
reigns with Him in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God, forever and ever. R. Amen.
The bishop, with his miter off, turns to the altar and says:
Let Us Pray
Turning again to the candidates kneeling before him, the bishop prays:
Let us bend our knees. R. Arise.
Holy Lord, almighty Father, eternal God, bless
+ these Thy servants for the office of porter, that
among the keepers of the Church they may be devoted to Thy service and together
with Thine elect have a share in Thy reward. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Thy
Son, who lives and reigns with Thee in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God,
forever and ever. R. Amen.
Procedure after an ordination.
Holy Orders Home Page |
Sacrament of Holy Orders | Tonsure
Minor Orders |
| Reader | Exorcist
Major Orders |
| Deacon | Priest
Litany of the Saints
| Veni Creator |
Encyclical of Pope Pius XI