“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 conferred by the laying on of hands followed by a solemn prayer of consecration asking God to grant the ordinand the graces of the Holy Spirit required for his ministry. Ordination imprints an indelible sacramental character.” (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1597)
To be a man who strives to be configured to Christ, the Good Shepherd, is the goal of a good priest. The Priest, the steward of the mysteries of God, is truly himself when he is for others. Prayer enables him to recognize those whom the Father has given to him. These are, in the first place, those whom the Good Shepherd has as it were placed on the path of his priestly ministry, of his pastoral care. They are children, adults and the aged. They are the youth, married couples, and families, but also those who are alone. They are the sick, the suffering, the dying; they are those who are spiritually close…but also those who are distant. Those who for different reasons are negatively disposed, those who find themselves in difficulties of various sorts, those who are struggling against vices and sin, those who are fighting for faith and hope, those who seek the Priest’s help and those who reject it.
For Holy Orders or interest in the vocations, contact Fr. Tom (715) 352-3011 or Fr. Alan Wierzba, our Vocation Director, through his email: firstname.lastname@example.org
A man of God, chosen by God
“The Priesthood is a call, not a career; a redefinition of self, not just a new ministry; a way of life, not a job; a state of being, not just a function; a permanent, lifelong commitment, not a temporary style of service; an identity, not just a role. We are priests; yes the doing, the ministry, is mighty important, but it flows from the being; we can act like priests, minister as priests, preach as priests, because first and foremost we are priests! Being before act!
Archbishop Timothy M. Dolan, Priests for the Third Millennium
A man of the Eucharist
“We were born from the Eucharist. If we can truly say that the whole Church lives from the Eucharist (“Ecclesia de Eucharistia vivit”), as I reaffirmed in my recent Encyclical, we can say the same thing about the ministerial priesthood: it is born, lives, works and bears fruit “de Eucharistia” (cf. Council of Trent, Sess. XXII, canon 2: DS 1752). There can be no Eucharist without the priesthood, just as there can be no priesthood without the Eucharist.”
Pope John Paul II, Letter to Priests 2004
A man of the Word
“We want to stress once more the very important place that preaching still has, especially in the modern Catholic apostolate and in connection with the dialogue which is our present concern. No other form of communication can take its place not even the exceptionally powerful and effective means provided by modern technology: press, radio and television. In effect, the apostolate and sacred preaching are more or less synonymous terms. Preaching is the primary apostolate. Our ministry, Venerable Brethren, is before all else the ministry of the word.”
Pope Paul VI, Ecclesiam Suam
A man of Pastoral Charity
“Pastoral charity is the virtue by which we imitate Christ in his self-giving and service. It is not just what we do, but our gift of self which manifests Christ’s love for his flock. Pastoral charity determines our way of thinking and acting, our way of relating to people. It makes special demands on us.”
A Sign of Contradiction
“In a culture like ours, the Priest’s life is a sign of contradiction to much of what the world imagines to be true. The priest is not a contrarian, however. His being-different is not an end in itself, an indulgence in idiosyncrasy. The priest is a sign of contradiction so that the world can learn the truth about itself and can be converted. The radical openness to serve others that should be manifest in a happy, holy priest’s life is a living lesson to the world that self-giving, not self-assertion, is the royal road to human flourishing.”
George Weigel, The Priest: Icon of Christ, Enabler of Sanctity
Practical Things To Do
• Participate in the Mass daily. The sacrifice of the Mass is the Church’s greatest prayer of praise. At Mass we are fed and nourished by God’s work and the Body and Blood of Christ. A young man discerning a vocation to the priesthood is encouraged to participate in the daily celebration of Mass so that he can grow in his relationship with the Lord.
• Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament is also very beneficial to a young man discerning a vocation. This is a powerful way to grow in love for the Eucharistic Lord and to grow in the spiritual life.
• Daily Prayer is time set aside for God alone, usually in a quiet place at a specific time each day. This prayer time can consist of talking to the Lord in one’s own words or praying with the Sacred Scriptures, especially the Gospels. Developing the daily habit and pattern of prayer will help the young man to hear more clearly the call of the Lord.
• Spiritual direction is also very important when discerning a vocation to the priesthood. Speaking with a priest about one’s prayer life and seeking his advice on a regular basis is very helpful as one discerns a vocation to the priesthood.
• Discernment programs such as a weekend retreat with the Vocation Office, vocation evenings of recollection, or joining a discussion group of other young men discerning a vocation are invaluable in helping one to come to greater clarity of God’s call to the priesthood.
• Get involved in some form of service with the Church. Outreach to the poor, teaching religious education, taking Holy Communion to the sick, working with the youth of the parish, etc. are ways to give one a taste of “ministry” and can also increase one’s desire for ministry and service.
• Devotion to the Blessed Mother by praying the rosary daily and seeking the powerful intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary is recommended when a young man is discerning a vocation to the priesthood. The Blessed Mother had to respond to her vocation. She is most helpful in helping others obtain the grace to do the same.
• Talk to a Vocation Director to obtain further information about seminary and priestly life. The Vocation Director can also help one’s discernment through regular meetings so as to discern with the young man the authenticity of his call.