Holy Orders

Through Holy Orders, the Church hands down for posterity the ministry entrusted by Christ to his apostles (CCC 1536). In the Scriptures, we read of how St. Paul conferred the gift of the Holy Spirit and the faculties of the apostolic ministry to Timothy, through the laying on of hands (1 Tm 4:14).

The Catholic Church (alongside the Orthodox traditions) has carried on this tradition since the first apostles, thereby enjoying an unbroken line of apostolic succession.

There are three degrees of Holy Orders, in this order of ascension:

  • Diaconate. The deacon (Greek: diakonos) is the ordinary minister of Holy Baptism and may lead wedding and funeral    services. The deacon also preaches at Holy Mass and attends to the pastoral care of the people.
  • Presbyterate. In addition to the faculties and duties of the deacon, a priest (Greek: presbuteros) may celebrate the Holy    Mass, hear Confession, and anoint the sick. If delegated by his bishop, the priest may also confer Holy Confirmation.
  • Episcopate. The bishop (Greek: episkopos) is a successor of the apostles and possesses the fullness of the Sacrament of Holy    Orders. He therefore has the faculty to celebrate all Seven Sacraments. The duties most unique to him are to ordain priests and    deacons, as well as to confer Holy Confirmation as the apostle of the land.

There is but one priesthood of Christ, whom Scripture affirms as the “one mediator between God and men (2Tm 2:5).” Yet, this singular and unique priesthood of Jesus Christ is made present through the ministerial priesthood in those called to the presbyterate. As St. Thomas Aquinas puts it, “Only Christ is the true priest, the others being only his ministers.” (CCC 1545) In fact, the lay faithful participate in another kind of priesthood — the common priesthood — by virtue of their baptism. The ministerial priesthood is at the service of the common priesthood; it is directed at unfolding the baptismal grace of all Christians. (CCC 1547).

In our Roman tradition, priests observe celibacy — that is to say, they do not marry — “for the sake of the kingdom of heaven (Mt 19:12)”. Joyfully, they consecrate themselves with undivided hearts to the Lord and his affairs (see 1Cor 7:32), giving themselves entirely to God and his people (CCC 1579).

Want to receive the Sacrament of Holy Orders?

  • • You are an unmarried male, a practising Catholic who has received the sacraments of Christian initiation (Baptism,    Confirmation, Holy Eucharist).
  • • Diaconate (deacon): You are a seminarian undergoing formation for the priesthood, at least 23 years of age. At present, the    Archdiocese of Singapore does not ordain laymen as permanent deacons.
  • • Presbyterate (priest): You must be a deacon, at least 25 years of age, and be willing to commit to lifelong celibacy.
  • • Episcopate (bishop): You must be a priest, at least 35 years of age, and appointed by the Pope.
New Here? New Here?
Vocation Office Vocation Office
Golden Jubilee Golden Jubilee
© 2013 The Catholic Diocese of Jamshedpur all right reserved.