Vocation Ministry: The Good Shepherd
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.
The word order in Roman antiquity designated an established civil body, especially a governing body. Ordinatio means incorporation into an ordo. In the Church there are established bodies which Tradition, not without a basis in Sacred Scripture, has since ancient times called taxeis (Greek) or ordines. And so the liturgy speaks of the ordo episcoporum, the ordo presbyterorum, the ordo diaconorum. Other groups also receive this name of ordo: catechumens, virgins, spouses, widows.
Integration into one of these bodies in the Church was accomplished by a rite called ordinatio, a religious and liturgical act which was a consecration, a blessing or a sacrament. Today the word “ordination” is reserved for the sacramental act which integrates a man into the order of bishops, presbyters, or deacons, and goes beyond a simple election, designation, delegation, or institution by the community, for it confers a gift of the Holy Spirit that permits the exercise of a “sacred power” (sacra potestas) which can come only from Christ himself through his Church. Ordination is also called consecratio, for it is a setting apart and an investiture by Christ himself for his Church. The laying on of hands by the bishop, with the consecratory prayer, constitutes the visible sign of this ordination. (CCC 1536-1538)
If you have ever thought about or are currently discerning a call to the priesthood, visit http://considerpriesthood.com and then speak to your local parish priest or the Vocation Director for the Diocese of Sacramento. Be courageous. Do not be afraid. God is always generous with grace for those He calls to the priesthood.
A Vocation Story: Falling in Love: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Iqn4p0XYMlw
Prayer for Priestly Vocations
Eternal Father, your Holy Catholic Church is in need of priests to offer themselves in the sacrificial service of the Gospel through lives of dedicated love. Open the hearts of your sons. Give them the gift of understanding to discern your invitation. Give them the gift of courage to follow your divine call. May they have the spirit of young Samuel who responded with the words, “Speak Lord, for your servant is listening.” We ask this humble petition through Jesus Christ, our Lord and Redeemer. Amen.