Through baptism all the faithful share in the priesthood of Christ – a participation known as the “common priesthood of the faithful.” And yet Christ also chose to institute a ministerial priesthood, who would serve in his name as shepherds of his Church. This ordained ministry is conferred by the sacrament of Holy Orders.
Since the beginning, the ordained ministry has been conferred and exercised in three degrees: that of bishops, priests, and deacons. The ministries conferred by ordination are irreplaceable for the organic structure of the Church, particularly her sacramental life. Ordained ministers exercise their service for the People of God by teaching, leading divine worship, and pastoral governance.
The sacrament of Holy Orders is conferred by the bishop through the laying on of hands, followed by a solemn prayer of consecration, asking God to grant the ordinand the graces of the Holy Spirit required for his ministry. Ordination imprints an indelible sacramental character upon the man being ordained.
Given the indispensable place of ordained ministry in the Church’s mission, it is incumbent upon all Catholics to pray for vocations to the ordained ministry, and to support their bishops, priests and deacons through their prayer and service.
To learn more about the priesthood in the Archdiocese of Perth, click here.