Courier photo by Jeff Witherow
Holy Orders - Ministerial Priesthood
The Church is the Body of Christ. As such, the whole Church shares in the nature and tasks of Christ, our leader. This includes sharing in his priesthood. But beyond this “common priesthood of the faithful," there is the special or “ministerial priesthood” of Christ that certain members of the Church are called to receive through the sacrament of Holy Orders.
Each type of priesthood is a sharing in the priesthood of Christ. And both types are related to each other. But there is a basic difference between them. In the Eucharistic sacrifice, the ordained priest acts “in the person of Christ” and offers the sacrifice to God in the name of all, and the people join with the priest in that offering. The two roles of priest and people go together. Priests share in Christ’s ministry by preaching his gospel, doing all in their power to bring their people to Christian maturity. They baptize, give absolution in the sacrament of Penance, and act as the Church’s witness in the sacraments of Matrimony and Anointing of the Sick. Priests celebrate the Eucharist, which is “the center of the assembly of the faithful over which the priest presides." All priests are united in the single goal of building up Christ’s Body. In addition to bishops and priests deacons also have a special sharing in the sacrament of holy orders.
Preparation For Holy Orders
If you discern in your faith life a calling to serve the Church as a priest or a deacon, please contact rocpriest.org for more information.