Holy Orders is the sacrament through which the ordained ministry of bishops, priests, and deacons is conferred by the laying on of hands followed by the prayer of consecration. Our ordained ministers serve the Catholic community by:
- Preaching and teaching the good news of Jesus Christ
- Leading us in celebrating the sacraments
- Leading us in working together to build up the Christian community
- Helping us serve the poor and all those in need.
The sacrament of Holy Orders is celebrated during Mass. Only a bishop can ordain another bishop, priest, or deacon. In ordaining priests, the bishop lays his hands on the head of each candidate and prays silently. This is the most important sign in the sacrament of Holy Orders. Then the bishop prays a prayer of consecration or the prayer that "makes holy". Each candidate for the priesthood is also anointed with holy oil. This is a sign of his special sharing in Christ's own priesthood through the ordained ministry. Each new priest receives a paten and a chalice with which to lead the community in celebrating the Eucharist. Priests are Christ's representatives on earth. Like Baptism and Confirmation, Holy Orders confers an indelible character and cannot be repeated.
The sacrament of Holy Orders is conferred in three ranks: bishops, priests, and deacons. Ordination is the sacramental ceremony in which a man becomes a deacon, priest, or bishop and is enabled to minister in Christ's name and that of the Church. There are three ordinations in the Sacrament of Holy Orders: diaconate, priesthood, and episcopal.
Bishops (episcopoi) are those who have care of multiple congregations (diocese) and have the task of appointing, ordaining, and disciplining priests and deacons, and shepherding the larger Christian community. They are often called 'evangelists' in the New Testament. Examples of first century bishops include Timothy and Titus (1 Tim. 5:19-22, 2 Tim. 4:5, Titus 1:5).
Priests (presbuteroi) are also known as "presbyters" or "elders." In fact, the English term "priest" is simply a contraction of the Greek word "presbuteros." They have the responsibility of teaching, governing, and performing the sacraments in a given congregation (1 Tim. 5:17, Jas. 5:14-15). Like bishops, they receive their priesthood in the one priesthood of Jesus Christ.
Deacons (diakonoi) are the assistants of the bishops and have the task of teaching and administering certain church functions, such as the distribution of food, caring for the sick, preaching, etc. (Acts 6:1-6). Anyone interested in learning more about (or pursuing) the vocation of priesthood, religious life or the diaconate (being a deacon), can contact the parish priests or deacon. Feel free to call the parish office at 740-965-1358. Or contact Fr. Jeff Coning, the Director of Vocations for the Diocese of Columbus, 614-221-5565
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