Sacrament of Holy Orders

As the Father has sent me, so I send you!

Icon of Jesus the High Priest

Icon of Jesus the High Priest

“The divinely instituted ecclesiastical ministry is exercised in different degrees by those who even from ancient times have been called bishops, priests, and deacons.”Catholic doctrine, expressed in the liturgy, the Magisterium, and the constant practice of the Church, recognizes that there are two degrees of ministerial participation in the priesthood of Christ: the episcopacy and the presbyterate. The diaconate is intended to help and serve them. For this reason the term sacerdos in current usage denotes bishops and priests but not deacons. Yet Catholic doctrine teaches that the degrees of priestly participation (episcopate and presbyterate) and the degree of service (diaconate) are all three conferred by a sacramental act called “ordination,” that is, by the sacrament of Holy Orders: Let everyone revere the deacons as Jesus Christ, the bishop as the image of the Father, and the presbyters as the senate of God and the assembly of the apostles. For without them one cannot speak of the Church.” (Catechism of the Catholic Church #1554)

What is the Sacrament of Holy Orders?

Jesus instituted the Sacrament of Holy Orders at the Last Supper when he entrusted to the Apostles the mission to continue his ministry. It is called “orders” because it contains three degrees or “orders”: the episcopal order (bishops), the presbyteral order (priests), and the diaconal order (deacons). Men are called forth from among Christ’s faithful people to serve in these orders through the laying on of hands and the invocation of the Holy Spirit. Those men ordained bishops and priests are ordained unto the priesthood of Jesus Christ. Those men ordained deacons are ordained unto the ministry of Christ the servant.

Is God calling you to be a priest?

The call to live your Christian vocation as a priest comes from God Himself. No man calls himself to become a priest. Instead, after hearing God’s voice whispering in his heart, begins a process of discernment through prayer and spiritual reflection. During this time, it is helpful to meet with a priest. Please contact the pastor or parochial vicar at the parish office, 766-9433.

The Diocese of Harrisburg offers many opportunities to spend time in prayer and discussion in discernment of a vocation to the priesthood such as Quo Vadis Days (an annual summer camp held at Mt. Saint Mary’s in Emmitsburg, MD) and monthly meetings with the Diocesan Vocation Director.   To find out more information on these events or to contact the Vocation Director,  go to the Diocesan Website:   Visit for helpful resources as well.