Priesthood & Vocations
The priesthood is a calling.
Ordination has three degrees:
A Bishop has the fullness of priesthood and is ordained a successor of the Apostles
and has the responsibilities of teaching, sanctifying and governing. Priests and
deacons assist the Bishop in these fundamental tasks and share in the fullness of their
Bishop’s priesthood and cannot act apart from him. Priest and Deacons proclaim
God’s Word. Priests may administer all Sacraments with the exception of ordination.
Deacons may celebrate the Sacraments of Baptism and Marriage only.
There are two forms of deacons:
Permanent, where after a course of approved study, the man is ordained to work permanently as a Deacon without the intention of ordination to priesthood. This form of diaconate is open to married men.
Transitory, where a man is ordained a Deacon on the way to ordination to priesthood. These Deacons are not allowed marry.
All who prepare for ordination, must complete a lengthy study process which includes
theology, scripture, history, church law, liturgy and spirituality.
Candidates are called to ordination, they do not have a right to be ordained, indeed all
Sacraments are gifts from God.
The Catholic Church requires that Bishops and Priests be celibate.
Priesthood is exercised in a variety of ways. Diocesan priesthood is the form most
Irish people are familiar with where a Priest is assigned to and lives in a parish area
and celebrates the Sacraments with his people and is involved in the spiritual and
community life of the area.
Religious Order priesthood such as Dominicans, Carmelites and Franciscan’s. Priests in these orders usually live in the community, wear a habit, follow a rule established upon the life of their founder. They could be involved in retreat and mission work, hospital chaplaincy, education, outreach programmes for the poor, marginalised or those with addiction. Communal prayer and a codes of communal life is also followed.
Religious Society priesthood, such as the Jesuits, Kiltegan and Pallotine Fathers; these
Priests may or may not live in the community. There could be an international aspect
to their ministry with elements of community living.
Anyone interested in becoming a Priest should make contact with his local Parish
Priest who could direct him to the appropriate person in charge of formation.