June marked the 10th anniversary of my ordination as a deacon for the Archdiocese of Los Angeles. The Sacrament of Holy Orders is passed on in direct line, from the Twelve Apostles, according to ancient Christian belief. It was only after the Council of Trent (1545-1563) that certain sacramental records were ordered to be maintained. Genealogists reap the benefits of records being maintained from that time for baptisms, marriages and funerals, for example.
Ordination is also a sacrament, and after Trent records were kept of all those who were ordained bishop, priest or deacon. Of especial interest is the episcopal lineage, a sort of church genealogy that traces one’s ordination back in time through the laying on of hands.
When I was ordained on June 11, 2004, Cardinal Roger Mahony, archbishop of Los Angeles, laid his hands on me and thereby conferred on me the Sacrament of Holy Orders through an unbroken line. While the line goes back for quite a while, I present here my sacramental descent from Archbishop John Carroll, head of the Jesuit mission to the United States, first Roman Catholic bishop of the United States, who became bishop of Baltimore in 1790 (and was subsequently archbishop), the first American diocese, founder of Georgetown University, and builder of the first Catholic cathedral in the United States.
My sacramental descent from Archbishop Carroll is as follows:
Archbishop John Carroll, ordained a bishop in 1790, First Archbishop of Baltimore, first Roman Catholic bishop in the United States
- John Carroll ordained Jean-Louis Anne Madelain Lefebvre de Cheverus, Bishop of Boston (1810)
- Jean-Louis Anne Madelain Lefebvre de Cheverus ordained Ambrose Maréchal, P.S.S., Archbishop of Baltimore (1817)
- Ambrose Maréchal, P.S.S. ordained John Dubois, P.S.S., Bishop of New York (1826)
- John Dubois, P.S.S. ordained John Joseph Hughes, Auxiliary Bishop of New York (1838)
- John Joseph Hughes ordained John McCloskey, Auxiliary Bishop of New York (1844)
- John McCloskey ordained Michael Augustine Corrigan, Bishop of Newark (1873)
- Michael Augustine Corrigan ordained John Murphy Farley, Auxiliary Bishop of New York (1895)
- John Murphy Farley ordained Patrick Joseph Hayes, Bishop of New York (1914)
- Patrick Joseph Hayes ordained John Joseph Mitty, Bishop of Salt Lake (1926)
- John Joseph Mitty ordained Hugh Aloysius Donohoe, Auxiliary Bishop of San Francisco (1947)
- Hugh Aloysius Donohoe ordained Roger Michael Mahony, Auxiliary Bishop of Fresno (1975)
- Roger Michael Mahony ordained Eric Michael Stoltz to the Order of Deacon for the Archdiocese of Los Angeles (2004)
Lineage as documented on Catholic Hierarchy. Position shown here is the episcopal appointment at the time they were ordained bishop; the auxiliaries of New York went on to become archbishops of New York as did Corrigan, Mitty became archbishop of San Francisco, Donohoe became bishop of Fresno, Mahony archbishop of Los Angeles.