What is Holy Orders?
Holy Orders is the Sacrament of Apostolic Ministry wherein Christ’s redemptive mission is carried on in the Church until the end of time by ordained ministers. Sacramentally, Holy Orders is exercised in different degrees by Bishops, Priests, and Deacons.
The essential rite of the sacrament of Holy Orders for all three degrees consists in the bishop’s imposition of hands on the head of the ordained and in the bishop’s specific consecratory prayer asking God for the outpouring of the Holy Spirit and his gifts proper to the ministry to which the candidate is being ordained. (Cathecism of the Catholic Church 1573)
The fullness of the Sacrament of Holy Orders is conferred on Bishops at Episcopal Ordination for the purpose of sanctifying and teaching the faithful, in the same way that the Apostles received the special outpouring of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost Sunday.
Through the sacrament of Holy Orders priests share in the universal dimension of the mission that Christ entrusted to the apostles. The spiritual gift they have received in ordination prepares them, not for a limited and restricted mission, but for the fullest, in fact the universal mission of salvation to the ends of the earth, prepared in spirit to preach the Gospel everywhere. (Catechism of the Catholic Church 1565)
At the lower level of the hierarchy are to be found deacons, who receive the imposition of hands not unto the priesthood, but unto ministry (CCC 1569). That ministry includes assisting parish priests in the celebration of the Eucharist, in blessing marriages, in offering prayers for the dead, and in dedicating themselves to other ministries of service and charity. If deacons have been ordained by their bishops with preaching faculties, they may also preach homilies on the Sunday Gospel. Not every deacon has preaching faculties.
Is the Holy Spirit calling you to Holy Orders?
If you believe that the Holy Spirit might be calling you to serve the Church as a Priest, click here for more information.
If you believe that the Holy Spirit might be calling you to serve the Church as a Deacon, click here for more information.