Hero laying of hands 2017

Annual Arlington Priesthood and Transitional Diaconate Ordination

The ordination of men to the priesthood and diaconate is a very exciting event for our diocese. Properly called Holy Orders, ordination is the means by which a Catholic baptized male becomes a deacon, priest or bishop. Every year the Diocese of Arlington celebrates Masses of Ordination to the priesthood and transitional diaconate (in early summer) and permanent diaconate (in January) at the Cathedral of St. Thomas More, and all the faithful are invited to attend.

We the faithful celebrate these ordinations because these new priests and deacons make Christ present and the sacraments more available. The ordinations show us that the Holy Spirit is working in the hearts and minds of the people of the diocese, stirring up in men’s hearts the desire to follow and imitate Christ. An ordination may mark the end of formation, but it is also the beginning of life as a priest or deacon: a life of generous service to the faithful of the diocese. For these reasons, the entire diocesan community is invited to the ordination ceremonies, as well as to the first Masses of the newly-ordained priests. Come join in the celebration and give thanks to God!

Ordination Events

Diaconate Ordination

All are invited to the Diaconate Ordination for the Catholic Diocese of Arlington at 11 a.m. on Saturday, June 2 at The Cathedral of St. Thomas More in Arlington.  

During this wonderful celebration, Nicholas Blank, Edouard Guilloux, Sean Koehr, Will Nyce and James Waalkes will be ordained as transitional deacons, a major step in their journey to the priesthood. Arlington Bishop Michael F. Burbidge will be the celebrant and confer the Sacrament of Holy Orders on these five men.

Please note: All priests (including those visiting!) are welcomed to concelebrate at this wonderful occasion. (Those not incardinated in the Diocese of Arlington should contact the Office of Clergy at (703) 841-3809.)

Holy Hour before Priestly Ordination

Come spend time with the Lord to pray for our soon-to-be ordained priests of the Diocese.

A holy hour for their intentions will be held from 7:00 to 8:00 p.m. on Friday, June 8 at the Cathedral of St. Thomas More in Arlington.

This holy hour includes exposition of the Blessed Sacrament, a reflection or meditation, intercessory prayers and litanies for the men to be ordained, and benediction. All ordinandi will be present and Bishop Michael F. Burbidge, Bishop of Arlington, will preside.

Priesthood Ordination

Witness the beauty and power of the Sacrament of Ordination with our ordinandi, Deacons Michael J. Folmar, Nicholas Schierer and Christopher Tipton, and the largest annual gathering of priests in the entire Diocese. The ceremony is at 11 a.m. on Saturday, June 9at the Cathedral of St. Thomas More in Arlington. Arlington Bishop Michael F. Burbidge will be the celebrant and confer the Sacrament of Holy Orders on these three men.

Please note: All priests (including those visiting!) are welcomed to concelebrate at this wonderful occasion. (Those not incardinated in the Diocese of Arlington should contact the Office of Clergy at (703) 841-3809.)

First Masses

First Masses offer a special opportunity for the faithful to receive a plenary indulgence (see the FAQs below), and all are invited to attend. All are on Sunday, June 10:

The first Mass of Reverend Mr. Michael J. Folmar, Jr., is at 12:00 noon at Holy Spirit Catholic Church in Annandale.

The first Mass of Reverend Mr. Nicholas Schierer is at 10:45 a.m. at St. Veronica Catholic Church in Chantilly.

The first Mass of Reverend Mr. Christopher Tipton is at 9:00 a.m. at Holy Spirit Catholic Church in Annandale.

Meet the soon-to-be ordained candidates

For the Diaconate


Nicholas F. Blank

Edouard B. Guilloux

Sean J. Koehr

Christopher William Nyce, Jr.

James F. Waalkes


For the Priesthood


Reverend Mr. Michael J. Folmar, Jr.

Deacon Michael Folmar is completing his fourth year of theology at Mount St. Mary’s Seminary in Emmitsburg, MD. He wants to become a priest to offer Mass and save souls. He looks forward to serving the people of our diocese more fully as a deacon, and especially to administering the Sacrament of Baptism, being the instrument God uses to wipe away all sin and mark someone as God's child.

Read Michael Folmar's story in the Arlington Catholic Herald


Reverend Mr. Nicholas J. Schierer

Deacon Nicholas Schierer is in his fourth year of theology at the Pontifical North American College in Rome. He was ordained to the diaconate Sept. 28, 2017, by Bishop James F. Checchio of Metuchen, N.J. His brother, Father William B. Schierer, also is a priest of the Diocese of Arlington. His home parish is St. Veronica Church in Chantilly. A graduate of Paul VI Catholic High School in Fairfax and the University of Mary Washington in Fredericksburg, Deacon Schierer thought about becoming a priest throughout his childhood. Studying for the priesthood in Rome has given him the grace to know “that God really has called me to serve in the Diocese of Arlington,” he said. “Distance really does make the heart grow fonder, or at least it did for me.”

Read about Deacon Schierer in the Arlington Catholic Herald


Reverend Mr. Christopher F. Tipton

Deacon Christopher Tipton is completing his fourth year of theology at St. Charles Borromeo Seminary in Pennsylvania. He graduated from Christendom College with a bachelor’s degree in philosophy and theology. He says that for as long as he can remember, he has wanted to be a priest. Through prayer he asked God to make clear to him when to apply, and that was after college. He encourages discerners to involve God in their discernment.

Read Christopher Tipton's story on the Arlington Catholic Herald

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What is an ordination?

Ordination in the Catholic Church, properly called Holy Orders, is the means by which a baptized male becomes a deacon, priest or bishop. The essential element is the Prayer of Consecration, asking God for the outpouring of the Holy Spirit. For the priesthood and episcopacy, it also includes the Laying on of Hands and Anointing with Sacred Chrism.

Priestly ordination includes the following elements:

  • The Calling of the Candidates: When all has been prepared, the candidates are called forward by the Deacon of the Call
  • The Presentation of the Candidates: The candidates are presented to the bishop by the Diocesan Director of the Office of Vocations.
  • The Election by the Bishop and the Consent of the People: The congregation expresses its assent to the choice by applause.
  • The Homily and Instruction:The bishop addresses the people and the candidates on the duties of a priest.
  • The Examination and Promise of Obedience: The candidates are publicly examined by the bishop concerning their intention to be priests and to fulfill the duties of their office. Each candidate kneels before the bishop, placing his hands within those of the bishop.
  • The Litany of Supplication: The candidates prostrate themselves as the congregation prays the Litany of the Saints on their behalf. Prostration, which means laying face down before God, is an ancient posture showing both the donation by the candidate of their life to God and His Church, as well as supplication, which is asking God the grace to live his life for God and His Church.
  • The Laying on of Hands: One by one, the candidates go to the bishop and kneel before him. The bishop lays his hands on the head of each in silence. The laying on of hands and the prayer of ordination which follows constitute the essential elements of the sacrament of Holy Orders. Next, all the priests present lay their hands on the head of each candidate.
  • Prayer of Ordination: With his hands extended over the candidates, the bishop recites the prayer of ordination, whereby the candidates are ordained priests. At the conclusion of the prayer, the congregation responds by saying: Amen.
  • Investiture with stole and chasuble: The newly ordained priests remain standing. They are now vested with the stole and chasuble, as symbols of their new office in the Church.
  • The Anointing of the hands:  The newly ordained priests' hands are anointed with sacred chrism. This symbolizes that it is in these hands that bread will become the Body of Christ and wine the Blood of Christ.
  • The Presentation of the Gifts: The bishop receives the gifts of bread and wine from the people for the celebration of the Mass. Once the chalice and paten have been prepared, they are brought to the bishop,who presents them to the new priests as they kneel before him.
  • Fraternal kiss: The bishop stands and gives the fraternal kiss, also known as the sign of peace, to each of the new priests, as do the attending priests. This gesture is a sign of welcome into the Priesthood of Jesus Christ which they all share as brothers. 

2. What is the difference between a transitional deacon and a permanent deacon?

Transitional deacons are those in formation to become priests, and are normally ordained to the diaconate six months to a year prior to their priestly ordination. Permanent deacons are those not planning to be ordained priests; they are usually married, or single men committed to a celibate lifestyle.


3. What is a first blessing?

It’s customary in the Church to ask a newly-ordained priest for his “first blessing” (within the first year after his ordination). Though there is no indulgence attached to this, the tradition includes kneeling before the newly ordained priest, receiving his blessing, and then kissing the palms of his hands in recognition of the sacredness of priesthood and of the hands that can consecrate the Eucharist and confer the sacraments.


4. What is a first Mass?

In most dioceses, the day after a priest is ordained (or soon after), he celebrates the first Mass where he is the main celebrant. He may also celebrate one or more “Masses of Thanksgiving” in churches or chapels of particular significance to him (for example, the chapel of his college campus ministry). 

These Masses are open to anyone to attend to give thanks for the new priest, to pray for his fidelity in his vocation, as well as to gain a plenary indulgence, if all the usual conditions are met. (Learn more about plenary indulgences here.)