The mission entrusted by Jesus to his apostles continues and is carried out today by those who have received the sacrament of Holy Orders. There are Bishops, Priests, and Deacons.
Bishops are the successors of the apostles. They govern, teach, and sanctify in the name and authority of Christ for the People of God. Usually, they oversee a territory or diocese and all of the people and parishes within. This is a rather large and daunting task and so they ordain priests to assist them in their ministry.
Priests participate in carrying out the bishop's ministry in his diocese. They act in a variety of ministries such as: working in parishes, in social ministries with those who are in need, in schools, hospitals, and diocesan offices. Priests are chosen from among men who are unmarried (in the Latin Rite) and who feel called to serve the Church and the people of God.
Those who are called to the priesthood go through a period of formation that is both spiritual and academic for several years before receiving the Sacrament of Holy Orders. This prepares them for their future ministry giving them the tools they need as well as a firmly rooted spiritual life so that they may serve well the Church's mission.
Permanent deacons are ordained for a particular ministry of service. They don't celebrate Mass but they may proclaim the Gospel, assist the priest at Mass as well as baptisms. They also have a social ministry within the community where they serve the Gospel by serving the marginalized. They are chosen from among married men. It should be noted that men who will be ordained priests are first ordained deacons but they are called transitional deacons due to the fact they will soon be ordained priests.
Have you ever thought about becoming a priest? Do you know anyone who you think might have a vocation or might make a good priest? Don't hesitate to talk to Fr. Xavier!
Let us pray to the Lord of the harvest, that he may send labourers into His harvest!