The Sacrament Defined
Holy Orders is the sacrament through which the mission entrusted by Christ to his apostles continues to be exercised in the Church until the end of time: thus it is the sacrament of apostolic ministry. It includes three degrees: episcopate, presbyterate, and diaconate.
Integration into one of these bodies in the Church was accomplished by a rite called ordination, a religious and liturgical act which was a consecration, a blessing or a sacrament. Today the word “ordination” is reserved for the sacramental act which integrates a man into the order of bishops, presbyters, or deacons, and goes beyond a simple election, designation, delegation, or institution by the community, for it confers a gift of the Holy Spirit that permits the exercise of a “sacred power” which can come only from Christ himself through his Church. Ordination is also called consecratio, for it is a setting apart and an investiture by Christ himself for his Church. The laying on of hands by the bishop, with the consecratory prayer, constitutes the visible sign of this ordination.
This sacrament configures the recipient to Christ by a special grace of the Holy Spirit, so that he may serve as Christ’s instrument for his Church. By ordination one is enabled to act as a representative of Christ, Head of the Church, in his triple office of priest, prophet, and king. (Catechism of the Catholic Church 1536, 1538 & 1581).
Who May Receive this Sacrament?
Only a baptized man may validly receive this Sacrament. The Sacrament is not one that is sought or one that a man has a right to receive. No one has a “right” to receive the Sacrament of Holy Orders for it is an office to which the man is called to by God. Any man who feels that God is calling him to discern a vocation to the Priesthood or Permanent Diaconate should make an appointment with the priest. An appointment may be made through the Church Office at 770-251-5353.