Holy Orders

“I will give you shepherds after my own heart” (Jeremiah 3:15).

“By divine institution, the sacrament of orders establishes some among the Christian faithful as sacred ministers through an indelible character which marks them. They are consecrated and designated, each according to his grade, to nourish the people of God, fulfilling in the person of Christ the Head the functions of teaching, sanctifying, and governing” (Code of Canon Law, no 1008). What this canon tells us is that Holy Orders is a sacrament and that those who are ordained, like those who are baptized, are marked indelibly: “You are a priest forever like Melchizedek of old” (Psalm 110:4).

If you feel drawn to the priesthood, to serving our Blessed Lord and the People of God, but perhaps not sure, then you are like so many serving priests and deacons who were uncertain as to their worthiness or even the genuineness of the call. Do not be afraid to discuss your perceived vocation to the priesthood or diaconate with your parish priest. The priest will offer you advice and highlight resources that are available, e.g. www.ukpriest.org or www.southwarkvocations.com.

As the Apostolic Exhortation Pastores Dabo Vobis states so clearly in its introduction: “Without priests the Church would not be able to live that fundamental  obedience which is at the very heart of her existence and her mission in history,  an obedience in response to the command of Christ: ‘Go therefore and make  disciples of all nations’ (Mt. 28:19) and ‘Do this in remembrance of me’  (Luke 22:19; cf. 1 Corinthians 11.24), i.e:, an obedience to the command  to announce the Gospel and to renew daily the sacrifice of the giving of his  body and the shedding of his blood for the life of the world.”

Don’t be afraid to come forward and to discuss your thoughts with the priest. While you, with the grace of God, discern your calling to the priesthood, your priest can help by raising questions for you to answer and by sharing his experiences from initial calling to diaconate and priestly ordinations.