The Sacrament of Holy Orders
The Priesthood is a sacrament which makes the recipient share in a special way in the Priesthood of Christ and endows him with special powers. The sacrament is also called Holy Orders.
The sacrament of Priesthood was instituted by Jesus Christ at the Last Supper. The first men who received the power of priesthood were apostles. After that, apostles passed on that gift to other chosen men. We believe that up to the present, there is continuity of ordination between apostles and our bishops.
The celebration during which the recipient receives the sacrament of Priesthood is called ordination. It is required that all those who are to be ordained will undergo several years of studies of theology and spiritual formation.
The word priest comes from Greek "presbyteros" and means one who is in a special way devoted to the service of God. Priests are the people who are devoted to the service of God and other people.
Priests are given special powers through their ordination. The main one is to preside over the Eucharist and to forgive sins. Also, only priests can administer the sacrament of the anointing of the sick. In general, priests are called in a special way to look after the spiritual well being of other people and to preach the Word of God.
There are three different kinds of ordained ministry, each with its own responsibilities and powers: deaconate, priesthood, and episcopacy (being a bishop).
We believe that priesthood, because of its particular character, is only for people who are called by God to this ministry. If one wants to be a priest, he should "hear" God calling him to this way of life. Priesthood is a gift.