Defining Priesthood

A Sacred Ministry to God’s People.

Priests have a critical missionto bring people to Jesus and Jesus to people.  They are spiritual fathers to thousands of Catholics. They preach the Gospel and offer the sacrifice of the Mass.  In short, priests are living witnesses of Christ in the world—men of strong character who stand out in our secular culture.


The priesthood is a calling

Christ asks of some men the sacrifice of their lives in following him as his more intimate companions. From all eternity, certain men are called to the priesthood. It is a call inscribed in their nature and because of this, is a call that will bring them fulfillment.


Priests act in the person of Christ

In persona Christi capitas, which means “in the person of Christ, head of the Church,” is the term used to describe the priest’s identity. When a priest speaks in the first person at Mass, “This is my body, given up for you,” or in the confessional, “I absolve you of your sins,” by virtue of his office, Christ is working through the priest in a particular way. Priests are the face of Jesus in our world today.


Priests wield a sacred power

When a priest makes the sacraments present, he wields a sacred power from God, in Latin, sacra potestas. This power is given by the Holy Spirit, when a priest receives the Sacrament of Holy Orders through the laying on of hands by a Bishop. The exercise of this power is granted by Christ for and through His Church, for the purpose of building His kingdom on Earth and the salvation of souls.


A Priest’s soul is changed forever

At ordination, a man’s soul undergoes an ontological change—a change of being—which indelibly marks his soul forever. Like Baptism and Confirmation, ordination imposes a indelible spiritual character that can not be changed: “Once a priest, always a priest.“


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