The ordained are called to a holiness of life and an attitude of humility that conforms them to Christ whose priesthood they share. The priest acts not only in the person of Christ, the Head of the Church, but also in the name of the Church when presenting to God the prayer of the Church, especially in the Eucharist.
Ordination to the priesthood is always a call and a gift from God. Christ reminded his Apostles that they needed to ask the Lord of the harvest to send labourers into the harvest. Those who seek priesthood respond generously to God’s call using the words of the prophet, ‘Here am I, send me’ (Is 6:8)
Holy Orders is the sacrament through which the mission entrusted by Jesus to his apostles is continued in the Church until the end of time. It is the sacrament of apostolic ministry. SGN, 56
Copyright © Irish Episcopal Conference 2014 Further reading: Chapter 20 (pp. 294 – 307) Irish Catholic Catechism for Adults
In the Sacrament of Holy Orders (Ordination), the priest promises to lead other Catholics by bringing them the sacraments (especially the Eucharist), by proclaiming the Gospel and by providing other means to holiness.
The Catechism of the Catholic Church says that this “is the sacrament through which the mission entrusted by Christ to his apostles continues to be exercised in the Church until the end of time: thus it is the sacrament of apostolic ministry”(Catechism 1536). It includes three degrees — the orders of bishop, priest and deacon.
A deacon may be assigned to a parish to assist the priest with pastoral work. He may also baptise, preach, administer Holy Communion and preside at weddings and funerals, when there is no Mass.
A priest is usually assigned to a parish and will carry out many tasks within his ministry. He is given the power to change bread and wine into the Body and Blood of Christ and to forgive sins.
A bishop is responsible for a Diocese. He has the power to Confirm and to Ordain—to pass the power of the priesthood on to others in the sacrament of Holy Orders.
Do you have a vocation to be a priest or a deacon?
Each of us needs to discern our vocation to discover the person God wants us to be. If after a process of discernment , you feel that you are being called to the priesthood or the diaconate, please click here.