What are Holy Orders?
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. It is through the apostles, and the bishops that succeed them, that Jesus Christ perpetuates his mission of salvation to all nations. The bishop ordains priests and deacons to assist him in the governance and ministry of his diocese. This happens through the “laying on of hands.” In the sacramental rite of ordination a bishop lays his hands on the head of the new priest or deacon and confers upon him the sacramental nature, or imprint, of Holy Orders. These men now belong to Christ in a special way to minister to mankind, heal their spiritual wounds, and restore them to God.
Why are Holy Orders important?
By means of the Sacrament of Holy Orders, Jesus made sure that men and women throughout all time and history could have access to the other six saving sacraments so as to save their souls and restore them to communion with God. For without bishops and priests we would not be able to be purified of our sins through baptism, receive our Lord in the Most Holy Eucharist, or receive absolution for our sins. Therefore, it is so important that we encourage our sons to pursue this most holy and noble vocation. We should pray fervently that they and many other young men will respond to God’s call to preach the Gospel to all nations and save as many souls as possible. We are grateful for the men who have already responded to God’s call to serve the Church. Pray for our priests and deacons often. May God give them strength and courage to preach the Gospel with love and truth! follow these links for more information:
Ordination to the deaconate and the priesthood
Consecration of Bishop J. Gérard A. LaPlante
Consecration of Bishop Jürgen Schmode