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Holy Orders

While He was on earth, Jesus chose men to be His apostles and He passed on authority to these men to carry out His work of preaching the good news and forgiving sins.

A priest with his hands folded in prayer at mass.

There are three levels of participation in the Sacrament of Holy Orders: 

 

Bishop: A bishop receives the fullness of the Sacrament of Holy Orders. He is the head or Ordinary of the local church. The local area entrusted to him is called a diocese. A bishop is also a member of the episcopal college: this is all the bishops who, with the pope, guide the Church.

Priest: Priests serve the community in various ways. They may be called to serve in their dioceses or as religious order priests, carrying out the mission of a particular religious community. They preside at liturgies, preach, administer the sacraments, counsel people, serve as pastors, and teach.

Deacon: Deacons help and serve bishops by serving the needs of the Church, proclaiming the gospel, teaching and preaching, baptizing, witnessing marriages, and assisting the priest celebrant at liturgies.

Deacons are ordained for service in the Church. There are deacons who are studying to become priests. There are deacons that include married men who are called to remain deacons for life and to serve the Church in this capacity.

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