A life of sacrament, service, sacrifice.
“The priestly vocation is a gift from God; but it is also a gift to the church. The church therefore is called to Safeguard this gift; to
esteem it and to love it.” - Pope John Paul II
Being a leader in the church and helping people discover God is indeed an extraordinary way to spend one’s life. This is in essence what the life of a priest is about. A priest is one of God’s representatives on earth.
The celebration of the sacraments is a main focus of the priesthood. These are moments when God is present in a unique way to faithful people. Priests have the privilege of sharing in these significant occasions with the people of God. As a result, priests have an intimate connection with those whom they serve whether it be at the celebration of marriage, the funeral of a loved one or in the other sacramental celebrations.
The sacramental life of the church is foremost to our faith as Catholic Christians; with the center being the celebration of the
Eucharist. At no moment are we closer to Jesus than when we receive him in this sacrament. Our communion with Christ through the mystery of the Eucharist is only possible if we have ordained priests in the church. The Eucharist and priesthood are closely connected.
Priests serve in other capacities as well. Priests are anointers, confessors, comforters, consolers. They are instructors, counselors, preachers and friends. They are companions on a journey of faith. They are men with whom we are united in belief and prayer. Priests are another way to recognize the presence of Jesus Christ in our midst.
One’s priestly vocation can be lived out as a diocesan priest or as a religious order priest. A diocesan priest usually lives in a rectory and serves in a parish in a particular diocese. There are other ministries diocesan priests can be involved in as well. Diocesan priests make promises of celibacy and obedience.
Religious order priests live in community with other members of their order and they are not limited to serving in a specific geographical area. Religious order priests take vows of poverty, chastity and obedience.
All vocations require a certain amout of sacrifice, and the priesthood is no exception. Although priests lead celibate lives, they have fulfilling relationships and are loving people.
The life of a priest is a life of service but it is service lived out with a particular goal - that of making Jesus Christ present in our world. The vocation of priesthood is a way to live a prayerful, God-centered life that is filled with love and grace.