In the Hebrew Law we find it applied to the entire people whom Moses, by a solemn act of consecration, designates as the People of God.
) In the Eastern Churches the prayers at the consecration of altars and sacred vessels are of the same import as those used in the Latin Church, and they are accompanied by the sign of the cross and the anointing with holy oils ( Renaudot, "Liturgiarum Orient. At the consecration of a bishop, the Orientals hold, with the Latins, that the essence consists in the laying-on of hands, and they entirely omit the anointing with holy oils (Morinus, De sacris Ecclesiæ ordinationibus, Pars III, Appendis). Since in liturgy Evangelists are regarded as Apostles (Cong. Rit., 17 July, 1706) their feast days may be selected.
When we speak of consecration without any special qualification, we ordinarily understand it as the act by which, in the celebration of Holy Mass, the bread and wine are changed into the body and blood of Christ. The day of consecration should be a Sunday or the feast of an Apostle, that is to say a dies natalitia , and not merely a day which commemorates some event of his life, e.g. The choice of any other day must be ratified by special indult of the Holy See. According to the ancient canons, both the consecrator and the bishop-elect are expected to observe the day preceding the consecration as a fast day.