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Holy Orders

Deacons, priest and bishops are essential to the Catholic Church because we believe that they continue the mission of Christ which was first entrusted to the apostles.

Since the beginning, the ordained ministry has been conferred and exercised in three degrees: that of bishops, that of presbyters, and that of deacons. The ministries conferred by ordination are irreplaceable for the organic structure of the Church: without the bishop, presbyters, and deacons, one cannot speak of the Church. (CCC 1593)

The Sacrament of Holy Orders is bestowed during the rite of ordination. The bishop confers the Sacrament of Holy Orders by the laying on of hands. The sacramental grace of Holy Orders provides the minister with the spiritual authority to celebrate the Church’s sacraments in the name of Christ. Ordination imprints an idelible saramental character on the newly ordained minister (CCC 1597).

Who Receives Holy Orders?

Baptized men who have been determined to be suitable candidates for the exercise of ministry in the Church are called to ordination by the bishop. The Church confers the sacrament of Holy Orders on these men after a lengthy period of prayer, discernment, and proper formation.

The sacrament of Holy Orders, in the Latin Rite of the Roman Catholic Church, is normally conferred on those candidates who freely embrace celibacy. The sign of celibacy points to the promise of the coming of God's kingdom and the love with which the ordained minister serves all people. 

The Second Vatican Council reminds us that the mission of ordained clergy, while unique, is interrelated to the mission of the lay faithful:

Though they differ from one another in essence and not only in degree, the common priesthood of the faithful and the ministerial or hierarchical priesthood are nonetheless interrelated: each of them in its own special way is a participation in the one priesthood of Christ. The ministerial priest, by the sacred power he enjoys, teaches and rules the priestly people; acting in the person of Christ, he makes present the eucharistic sacrifice, and offers it to God in the name of all the people. But the faithful, in virtue of their royal priesthood, join in the offering of the Eucharist. They likewise exercise that priesthood in receiving the sacraments, in prayer and thanksgiving, in the witness of a holy life, and by self-denial and active charity. (Lumen gentium 10)


If you believe God might be calling you to serve the Church as a priest or a permanent deacon, please contact Fr. Don. 


For more information on priestly ministry please visit


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