Holy Orders / Priesthood
“As a way of showing forth the Church’s holiness, it is to be recognized that the consecrated life, which mirrors Christ’s own way of life, has an objective superiority. Precisely for this reason, it is an especially rich manifestation of Gospel values and a more complete expression of the Church’s purpose, which is the sanctification of humanity. The consecrated life proclaims and in a certain way anticipates the future age, when the fullness of the Kingdom of Heaven, already present in its first fruits and in mystery, will be achieved and when the children of the resurrection will take neither wife nor husband, but will be like the angels of God (cf. Mt. 22:30)”
Pope John Paul II, Vita Consecrata, no. 32
In Persona Christi
In the ecclesial service of the ordained minister, it is Christ himself who is present to his church as Head of his Body, Shepherd of his flock, high priest of the redemptive sacrifice, Teacher of Truth. This is what the Church means by saying that a priest, by virtue of the sacrament of Holy Orders, acts in persona Christi Capitis.
- It is the same priest, Christ Jesus, whose sacred person his minister truly represents. Now the minister, by reason of the sacerdotal consecration which he has received, is truly made like to the high priest and possesses the authority to act in the power and place of the person of Christ himself.
- Christ is the source of all priesthood: the pries of the old law was a figure of Christ, and the priest of the new law acts in the person of Christ (St. Thomas Aquinas quoted in CCC 1548)
. . . “in the name of the whole Church”
The ministerial priesthood has the task not only of representing Christ—Head of the Church—before the assembly of the faithful, but also of acting in the name of the whole Church when presenting to God the prayer of the Church, and above all when offering the Eucharistic sacrifice (CCC1552).
FAQ about the Sacrament of Priesthood
What is priesthood?
Priesthood is the power and authority of God. Worthy male members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints receive the priesthood to do God’s work on earth. The Melchizedek Priesthood, or the “high priesthood,” was named after a righteous high priest who was a king. The Aaronic Priesthood, or the “lesser priesthood,” is part of the high priesthood. It prepares boys and men to receive the Melchizedek Priesthood.
How do I know what God is calling me to do?
You must pray often. Every single day! Finding out God’s will is not an easy thing to do. It is a slow process called discernment. Discernment is a process of learning to make your will that of God’s will. This doesn’t mean giving up marriage for the priesthood; it might be just the opposite.
At some point you have to involve the Church in your discernment, the first step consisting of finding a priest you trust and feel comfortable with to be your confessor or spiritual director. If you believe that you may have a vocation to the priesthood, then you must contact a vocations director who will help you continue in your discernment. Together with your confessor or spiritual director you will find out if you have a vocation and then when time comes, if it is God’s will, you may be called to Holy Orders or Religious Life. This ultimate decision is gradual and done in the seminary.
What exactly is a VOCATION?
A vocation is a calling. For Catholics it means the state of life God asks us to live. There is one vocation for every baptised person and that is holiness.
What exactly is a Holiness?
Holiness is living constantly in the presence of God and having a living relationship with God. This relationship is cultivated by prayer and the Sacraments. Everyone is also called to a particular vocation in life, beyond living a life of holiness.
How does someone become a priest?
First he must spend time in prayer and growing in relationship with God and then he must contact a vocations director. The application process for Salvatorian Order then takes place. If the man is accepted as a candidate for the priesthood then he will undergo a physiological and psychological evaluation, and lastly be interviewed by the seminary. Once he has been accepted the process will begin.
Every seminarian must have a Master’s degree (postulancy, novitiate, two years of philosophy and four years of theology). This usually takes 8-9 years to become a priest, to be ordine.
What is postulancy?
The purpose of postulancy is to be a period of preparation for novitiate during which the Society and the postulant have an opportunity to get to know each other. Consequently, the postulant and the community begin a process of mutual discernment as to whether the Saviour is calling the postulant to Salvatorian apostolic life. In order to assist the postulant and the community in this discernment, the postulant receives basic instruction in the Society’s origins, history, and apostolic life.
The postulant also receives instruction and participates in programs and activities that help him to progress in his human, intellectual, and Christian formation. Additionally, the postulant begins formal Salvatorian formation by developing his capacity to live in community and to have some experience of apostolic ministry.
What is novitiate?
The novitiate, also called the noviciate, is the period of training and preparation that a novice undergoes prior to taking vows in order to discern whether they are called to vowed religious life. It often includes times of intense study, prayer, living in community, studying the vowed life, deepening one’s relationship with God, and deepening one’s self-awareness. The canonical time of the novitiate is one year. The novitiate is in any case a time both for the novice to get to know the community and the community to get to know the novice. The novice should aspire to deepening their relationship to God and discovering the community’s charism. The novitiate in many communities includes a concentrated program of prayer, study, reflection and limited ministerial engagement.
“The novitiate, through which life in an institute is begun, is arranged so that the novices better understand their divine vocation, and indeed one which is proper to the institute, experience the manner of living of the institute, and form their mind and heart in its spirit, and so that their intention and suitability are tested.” CIC, can. 646
What is ordination?
Ordination is the sacramental ceremony in which a man becomes a deacon, priest or bishop and enabled to minister in Christ’s name and that of the Church. There are three ordinations in the Sacrament of Holy Orders: diaconate; priesthood; and episcopal. The ordination ceremony includes various rituals, rich in meaning and history, e.g., prostration, laying on of hands, anointing of hands, giving of the chalice and paten, sign of peace.
Three Degrees of the Sacrament of Holy Orders
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 (CCC1593).
Why is celibacy so important?
To underline the importance of what they “preach”, priests are asked to put their lives where their mouths are. That is what celibacy is about. It is a way of saying “what I want you to know about God’s love for you is so wonderful that I am prepared to stake everything for it.”
Who is a Deacon
The deacon is minister ordained for tasks of service of the Church; they do not receive the ministerial priesthood, but ordination confers on them important functions in the ministry of the word, divine worship, pastoral governance, and the service of charity, tasks which they must carry out under the pastoral authority of their bishop (CCC 1596).
Deacon share in Christ’s mission and grace in a special way. The sacrament of Holy Orders marks them with an imprint which cannot be removed and which configures them to Chris, who made himself the “deacon” or servant of all. Among other tasks, it is the task of deacons to assist the bishop and priests in the celebration of the divine mysteries, above all the Eucharist, in the distribution of Holy Communion, in assisting at and blessing marriages, in the proclamation of the Gospel and preaching, in presiding over funerals, and in dedicating themselves to the various ministries of charity (CCC 1570).
Since the Second Vatican Council the Latin Church [Roman Church] has restored the diaconate “as a proper and permanent rank of the hierarchy,” while the Churches of the East had always maintained it. This permanent diaconate, which can be conferred on married men, constitutes an important enrichment for the Church’s mission. Indeed it is appropriate and useful in its liturgical and pastoral life or whether in its social and charitable works, should “be strengthened by the imposition of hands which has come down form the apostles. They would be more closely bound to the altar and their ministry would be made more fruitful through the sacramental grace of the diaconate (CCC 1571).
Who is a Priest
The priest is united with the bishops in sacerdotal dignity and at the same time depend on them in the exercise of their pastoral functions; they are called to be the bishops’ prudent co-workers. they form around their bishop the presbyterium which bears responsibility with him for the particular Church. They receive from the bishop the charge of a parish community or a determinate ecclesial office.(CCC 1595)
Through the sacrament of Holy Orders priests share in the universal dimensions 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 end of the earth,’” prepared in spirit to preach the Gospel everywhere (CCC1565).
“It is in the Eucharistic cult or in the Eucharistic assembly of the faithful (synaxis) that they exercise in a supreme degree their sacred office; there, acting in the person of Christ and proclaiming his mystery, they untie the votive offerings of the faithful to the sacrifice of Christ their head, and in the sacrifice of the Mass they make present again and apply, until the coming of the Lord, the unique sacrifice of the New Testament, that namely of Christ offering himself once for all a spotless victim to the Father.” From this unique sacrifice their whole priestly ministry draws its strength (CCC1566).
Who is a Bishop
The bishop received the fullness of the sacrament of Holy Orders, which integrates him into the Episcopal college and make him the visible head of the particular Church entrusted to him. As successors of the apostles and members of the college, the bishops share in the apostolic responsibility and mission of the whole Church under the authority of the Pope, successor of St. Peter (CCC1594).
“Episcopal consecration confers, together with the office of sanctifying, also the offices of teaching and ruling…In fact…by the imposition of hands and through he words of consecration, the grace of the Holy Spirit is given, and a cared character is impressed in such wise that bishops, in an eminent and visible manner, take the place of Christ himself, teacher, shepherd, and priest, and act as his representative (in Eius persona agant).” “By virtue, therefore, of the Holy Spirit who has been given to them, bishops have been constituted true and authentic teachers of the faith and have been made pontiffs and pastors (CCC 1558).
As Christ’s vicar, each bishop has the pastoral care of the particular Church entrusted to him, but a the same time he bears collegially with all his brothers in the episcopacy the solicitude for all the Churches: “Though each bishop is the lawful pastor only of the portion of the flock entrusted to his care, as a legitimate successor of the apostles he is, by divine institution and precept, responsible with the other bishops for the apostolic mission of the Church (CCC 1560).
Is all this education necessary?
Priests are given the responsibility of caring for souls, which has eternal consequences for both the priest and the parishioner. A doctor studies to care for your body and still goes through an equal amount of time to become a doctor. Is it not fitting that a priest should have at least as much training? Also, the seminary is not just a school, but a place where one is formed to have a heart like that of our Lord, the Great High Priest.
What are the qualities that Salvatorain Fathers looks for in a candidate for the Priesthood?
A man who loves God and the Church, goes to Mass regularly, spends time in prayer, wishes to grow in holiness and like to live in community. He should be physically, emotionally, psychological and mentally healthy. He should be willing to grow, learn and to be formed.
Are the priests happy in their vocations?
Most priests are very happy as priests. This is especially true for those who give all of themselves without reserve to the work of the Father and maintain a life of prayer and thus stay connected to the source of their vocation, Jesus Christ the High Priest. There are a countless number of aged Salvatorian Fathers who fight ill health and physical weakness to continue their priestly ministry because of the joy they find in living their priesthood and religious life.
Will I be lonely as a priest?
Loneliness accompanies every person in every state of life at some point. Many priests have support groups and great friends in their fellow priests with whom they travel, recreate, and do many other things. Priestly retreats, convocations, Confirmation celebrations and other spiritual events allow priests to gather and celebrate the great joys and wonder of the ministerial priesthood. Every person will feel lonely when the desires of his heart are not properly ordered and focused toward our Lord, Jesus Christ.
Is it easy to become a Salvatorian Father?
No, it is definitely not easy! A man who wants to become a priest must go at least two years of philosophy and for another four years to earn a master’s degree in divinity.
Most men go to the formation program eight to ten years after high school before they can be ordained as priests! But do not let this discourage you. Seminary is a fantastic experience! And God always gives us the grace to do what He asks us to do.
Do Salvatorian Fathers take vows?
Priests who belong to a Salvatorian Fathers order take the vows of poverty, chastity and obedience. It is also expected that Salvatorian Fathers will lead a life of simplicity consonant with the people they serve.
Can Salvatorian Fathers do anything they want for recreation and fun?
Salvatorian Fathers can do anything they wants for recreation, as long as it is consistent with the Christian life. Many fathers play golf, basketball, softball, scuba dive, and engage in other sports. Others enjoy movies, plays, and reading. Some like to hunt and fish! The interests of fathers are as varied as the interests of the general public.
What does a Salvatorian Father do?
The purpose of a Salvatorain Father is to bring people to Jesus and Jesus to people. He does this primarily by preaching the Word and offering the Sacrifice of the Mass.
His daily life involves administering the sacraments—Baptism, Confirmation, the Eucharist, Penance and Reconciliation, the Anointing of the Sick, Matrimony and Holy Orders – is reserved for bishops to administer and caring for the people in their daily needs.
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