Sacraments of the holy order
The Sacrament of Apostolic Ministry by which the mission entrusted by Christ to his Apostles continues to be exercised in the Church through the laying on of hands. This sacrament has three distinct degrees or ‘orders’: deacon, priest, and bishop. All three confer a permanent, sacramental character” (Catechism of the Catholic Church,536).
“The whole Church is a priestly people. Through Baptism all the faithful share in the priesthood of Christ. This participation is called the ‘common priesthood of the faithful.’ Based on this common priesthood and ordered to its service, there exists another participation in the mission of Christ: the ministry conferred by the sacrament of Holy Orders, where the task is to serve in the name and in the person of Christ the Head in the midst of the community” (Catechism, 1591).
Holy Orders is the sacrament through which the messianic mission of Christ continues in His Church until the end of time. The three degrees of this one sacrament
the deaconate (deacon)
the presbyterate (priesthood)
- and the episcopate (bishop)
are a participation in the apostolic offices of teaching, sanctifying, and governing given by the Lord Jesus to the Twelve. In Roman law, the word “order” designated a group or civil body within society, and “ordination” means incorporation into an “order.”
A baptized man is ordained into one of these three Orders by a prayer of consecration and the laying on of hands by a true bishop in apostolic succession, and this liturgical action of Christ and the Church confers on the one ordained the sacred power to preach the Word of God and administer the other sacraments, according to the station of each Order.
By their consecration, bishops and priests are configured to the Lord Jesus in such a way that they can act in His Person in the sacred liturgy and stand in the Person of Christ, Head and Bridegroom of the Church. The ministerial priesthood has the task of representing Christ the Head of the Church before the whole assembly and also of acting in the name of the whole Church when offering to God the prayer of the Church. Deacons are ordained to a ministry of service, but not to the priesthood. Deacons assist bishops and priests in the celebration of the sacred mysteries, in works of charity, in blessing marriages, in the proclamation of the Gospel, in administering baptism, and in presiding over funerals.
O Holy Spirit, Spirit of wisdom and divine love, impart Your knowledge, understanding, and counsel to youth that they may know the vocation wherein they can best serve God. Give them courage and strength to follow God's holy will. Guide their uncertain steps, strengthen their resolutions, shield their chastity, fashion their minds, conquer their hearts, and lead them to the vineyards where they will labor in God's holy service. - Amen.