According to St. Joseph's Catholic Church in Austin, Texas, the two symbols of the Sacrament of Holy Orders are the laying of hands and the anointing oil. The laying of hands is the older symbol associated with this holy rite.
The Sacrament of Holy Orders is the ordination ceremony of the Roman Catholic Church. During the rite, those who are called assert their commitment to an apostolic path in the footsteps of Christ, and the church accepts that commitment. The anointing oil is symbolic of the ordained being specially chosen for holy work. The laying of hands is symbolic of the church blessing the work of the future deacon, priest or bishop.