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. (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1536)
The Sacrament of Holy Orders is the sacrament by which men are joined to Christ in a particular way giving them powers and responsibilities needed to serve the faithful of the Church. Together, bishops, priests, and deacons form the hierarchy of the Church instituted by Christ. Their authority is given to them to be of service to the gospel and to the faithful who hold to the gospel truths.
The deacons of the Church are joined to Christ the servant and assists his pastor and bishop in preaching, baptisms, marriages, and other acts of service.
The priests of the Church are joined to Christ the head and are given the power to act in his very person especially though the sacrament of Holy Eucharist and the sacrament of Penance and Reconciliation but also by extension in his entire pastoral work.
The bishops of the Church are chosen from among the priests to shepherd entire dioceses. Bishops have received the fullness of Holy Orders, and through their ordination they possess within themselves all that is needed for the sanctification, teaching, and governance of the faithful in his diocese.
If you are a young man interested in entering the priesthood, we encourage you to speak with your parish priest as soon as possible by contacting him through email or through the parish office. Or, you can contact the diocesan vocation director by e-mailing him at email@example.com, call the Office of Vocations, 314-792-6460. You can visit the Office of Vocations webpage as well. If you are interested in the permanent diaconate, please contact the Office of the Permanent Diaconate.