Church of St Francis of Assisi

The Sacrament of Holy Orders is one of the 2 Sacraments at the Service of Communion. 

A man is called to this Sacrament for the service of the people of God - the Church. It is both a call and a gift from God. It leaves an indelible mark on the man which cannot be erased nor repeated.

The priest is ordained and invested with a sacred power (sacra potestas) which is a gift from the Holy Spirit and comes only from Christ through his Church. He acts in the person of Christ and is given the authority to teach, govern and lead his church in worship in the name of Jesus Christ.

The Sacrament of Holy Orders consists of three degrees: episcopate (bishop), presbyterate (priest) and diaconate (deacon). 

The bishop is conferred the grace to sanctify (make holy) others, as well as the authority to teach the faithful and to govern the local Church. Together with other bishops, they form the College of Bishops, and are responsible for the universal Church.

The priest is the co-worker of the bishop and exercise their powers only in communion with their local bishops. They are responsible for the parish under their care. Together with the other priests and the bishop of the local Church, they form the presbyterium.

The deacon serves the Church in a special way. They baptise, preside over funerals, help in various ministries of charity and assist the bishop and priests at Mass.

Only bishops who are in line of apostolic succession can confer the three degrees of Holy Orders. 

The graces of this Sacrament is configuration to Christ as 1) priest - to lead in worship, 2) teacher - to teach and 3) pastor - to govern, of whom the ordained is made a minister. They are also prepared to die for their Church.

The matter (visible sign) is: the laying on of hands by the bishop.

The form (words) for the ordination of the priest are: "Almighty Father, we pray that you bestow on these servants of yours the dignity of the priesthood. Renew in their hearts the spirit of holiness, so that they may be steadfast in this second degree of the priestly office received from you, O God, and by their own lives suggest a rule of life to others."