Holy Orders

The People of God is a priestly people who participate in the one priesthood of Christ. We all share, through Baptism, in the common priesthood of the faithful. Yet, springing from this baptismal call is another participation in Christ’s priesthood – the ministerial priesthood of priests and bishops. The ministerial priesthood gives a sacred power through the Sacrament of Holy Orders for the purpose of serving the Church, helping all of us to fulfill our baptismal call. This ministry serves the people of God in the name of Christ and represents Christ within the community of the Body of Christ.

Priests and bishops are called to be servant leaders; to serve and lead the Church by teaching the Word of God, by offering divine worship in the liturgy, and by governing the Church as representatives of Christ, who is the Head of the Church.

Deacons are also ordained ministers for service in the Church through the Sacrament of Holy Orders; but they do not participate in the ministerial priesthood. Deacons play an important role in service to the community.

We reserve the term ordination for the Sacrament of Holy Orders, through which men are integrated into one of three holy orders: bishop, priest or deacon.

No one can confer Holy Orders expect a validly ordained bishop in union with the Bishop of Rome.

Every Christian is called to personal holiness and to participation in the spread of the Good News of Jesus Christ to the world. There is a universal call to holiness for all the baptized. We are all created equal in human dignity. However, God has called specific men for a vocation to the ministerial priesthood. Once ordained, they share in the One Priesthood of Christ through Holy Orders.

The priest makes the presence of Christ visible. The priest is given the power to act in the power and place of the person of Christ himself. Bishops, priests, and deacons must always keep in mind that they were ordained not for privilege but for service. This is a great responsibility.

By the anointing of the Holy Spirit and the character of Holy Orders, the priest is authorized to act in the person of Christ. He is consecrated to preach the Gospel, to guide the people of God, and to celebrate the liturgy of the Church as a priest of the New Covenant.

It is especially at the Eucharist (the Mass), in the assembly of the faithful, that priests fulfill their priestly office, for at the Eucharist, acting in the person of Christ, they make present again the one sacrifice of Christ’s offering himself for all.

Any baptized and confirmed Catholic man who senses God may be calling him to the Priesthood or the Diaconate should contact the respective vocation office for the archdiocese or diocese in which he resides. It would also help to meet with a trained spiritual director to help discern how the Holy Spirit is working in his life.


and like living stones be yourselves built into a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. (1 Peter 2:5)