At the Last Supper, Jesus told the Apostles, his first priests, to offer up bread and wine “as a remembrance of me” (Luke 22:19). In each church to which they traveled, Paul and Barnabas “installed presbyters and, with prayer and fasting, commended them to the Lord in whom they had put their faith.”
By the 12th century the sacramental system was in place; Holy Orders were named one of the seven sacraments and celibacy became a Church law. Vatican II states, “Those of the faithful who are consecrated by Holy Orders are appointed to feed the Church in Christ’s name with the Word and the grace of God.”
Holy Orders is one of the Sacraments of Service.
The Sacrament of Holy Orders is composed of three degrees, each having specific roles. For the ministry of service one is ordained as a transitional deacon in preparation for the priesthood or a permanent deacon at the first level. The Diaconate was reinstated in the last century as a ministry in its own right.
The second level of orders is the Priesthood which entails the administration of the Sacraments, the Mass, and certain degrees of administrative and ecclesial authority. The third level, Bishops, are ordained with the fullness of orders.
All Holy Orders are a consecration for service. The Mass of Ordination is a beautiful rite, which is a powerful expression of the Church’s mission. This mission symbolizes new life for the Church through the newly ordained.
Feel as if you may have a vocation to Religious Life?