PREPERATION By virtue of our Baptism, all Christians are part of a common priesthood of believers. We are all called to participate in Christ’s mission.
IF INTERESTED: For persons interested in pursuing a life of service through a ministerial priesthood, who need more information, please go to http://www.rcdony.org/vocations.html , the Diocese of Ogdensburg website for the Vocation Director and Director of Seminarians or call at 315-393-2920 Ext. 1450
ADDITIONAL INFORMATION ABOUT HOLY ORDERS: By virtue of our Baptism, all Christians are part of a common priesthood of believers. We are all called to participate in Christ’s mission. Through the Sacrament of Holy Orders, bishops and priests are given a special role in carrying out this mission. They exercise a ministerial priesthood. Deacons also receive a special grace through ordination and are called to assist the ministry of bishops and priests (Catechism of the Catholic Church [CCC], nos. 1547, 1554).
Pope Benedict XVI writes, “The priest is above all a servant of others” (Sacramentum Caritatis [Sacrament of Charity], no. 23). In gathering the community, modeling Christ’s love for the poor, presiding at Eucharist, and evangelizing social realities, ordained ministers help Christians imitate Christ’s mission of love and justice.
Through ordination, priests become representatives of Christ to the Church—as witnesses of holiness and love, preachers of the Gospel, shepherds of the faithful, conveners of divine worship, and builders of the Church. Through their ministry, priests are called, in imitation of Christ, to “preach good news to the poor . . . proclaim release to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed, to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord (Lk 4:18-19)” (Pope John Paul II, Pastores Dabo Vobis [I Will Give You Shepherds], no. 11). Deacons, too, are ordained to imitate Christ in his ministry of service and charity to the poor and needy in the community.
As co-workers with their bishops in teaching and carrying out Christ’s mission, priests and deacons proclaim the Word of God to his people. This includes education about the social teaching of the Church, which is based in both Scripture and Tradition, and helping community members become aware of their “right and duty to be active subjects of this doctrine” (Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church [Compendium], no. 539).
Bishops and priests preside over the Eucharist, offering the sacrifice in the name of the whole Church, the Body of Christ (CCC, no. 1553). In celebrating the Eucharist, the Holy Spirit transforms the people of God for mission. In the words of Bishop William S. Skylstad:
Especially at the celebration of Eucharist we help our people find Jesus in their lives through word, sacrament, and community. We also help them to appreciate that as they leave the church building they move into the world as eucharistic people. They too are to become “foot washers of humanity.” (Priests for a New Millennium, 158).