A CATHOLIC PRIEST
Around this period of the year, most Catholic dioceses or Congregation usually raised devoted men to the Order of Deacons or Priesthood. On today’s Episode of our weekly Catholic Catechism (Sunday Rice and Stew), we shall look closely into the Catholic Priesthood.
When I was a teenager 17 years to be precise, my then Parish St. Peters Catholic Church Sabon Tasha Kaduna was privileged for the first time to host an Ordination.
I was sad all through that morning, because I was unable to attend due to the fact that I had my second Paper in the National Examination council of Nigeria (NECO) that day.
The pain I felt was inconsolable, because it was the first time and last time an opportunity will be given to our Parish to host such an event where Angels and Saints will be called upon young men who were to be ordained as Priest.
Before I digress, let us go to our main Focus: A Catholic Priest.
Who is a Catholic Priest?
A Roman Catholic priest is a man called by God to serve Christ and the Church through the reception of the sacrament of Holy Orders. As the Catechism of the Catholic Church states, the priest serves the faithful by building up and guiding the Church in the name of Christ, who is head of the body (CCC #1547). A priest makes a lifelong promise of celibacy and obedience to a bishop or religious superior.
Through the ordained ministry, especially that of bishops and priests, the presence of Christ as head of the Church is made visible in the midst of the community of believers.
In the beautiful expression of St. Ignatius of Antioch, the bishop is typos tou Patros: he is like the living image of God the Father.
Basic Duties of a Priest
All Catholic Priests have the same powers bestowed on them through ordination by a bishop, but their way of life, the type of work they do, and the authority to whom they report depends on whether they are members of a religious order or working in a diocese. Diocesan priests generally work in parishes to which they are assigned by their bishop.
Religious priests, such as Dominicans, Jesuits, or Franciscans, work as members of a religious community and teach, doing missionary work, or engage in other specialized activities as assigned by their superiors.
Both categories of priests teach and hold administrative positions in Catholic seminaries and educational institutions.
Diocesan priests are the spiritual leaders of their congregations. They are responsible for leading liturgical celebrations, especially the Mass. They also provide pastoral care for their parishioners in times of sickness, death, or personal crisis.
Diocesan priests oversee the religious education of everyone in their congregation and take care of administrative duties. Some work in parochial schools attached to parish churches or in diocesan high schools.
Religious priests perform similar duties but usually in monastic or missionary settings, or in such institutions as boarding schools, medical facilities, and residential homes.
All Catholic Priests take time each day to nurture their own spiritual lives through Mass, private prayer, and recitation of the Liturgy of the Hours (the offices of Morning Prayer, Evening Prayer, etc.).
Catholic Priest also devote time to studying the Bible, church history, and the doctrines and practices of the faith. All of this gives them the spiritual strength necessary to carry out their ministries.
Catholic Priest do not choose their own work assignments; this is done in collaboration with their religious superiors. Work assignments, however, are always made with the interests and abilities of the individual priest in mind.
Every effort is made to place a priest in the type of ministry he prepares for. Priests may serve in a wide range of ministries, from counseling full-time and working in social services to being chaplains in the armed forces, prisons, or hospitals.
Importance of the Catholic Priesthood.
Many may think that the importance of the Catholic Priesthood is just to meet the spiritual needs of the people, but its more than that.
The Catechism of the Catholic Church states, “In the ecclesial service of the ordained minister, it is Christ himself who is present to his Church as Head of his Body, Shepherd of his flock, high priest of the redemptive sacrifice, Teacher of Truth.
This is what the Church means by saying that the priest, by virtue of the sacrament of Holy Orders, acts in “persona Christi Capitis,” (CCC 1548).
It states further, “This priesthood is ministerial. That office…which the Lord committed to the pastors of his people, is in the strict sense of the term a service. It is entirely related to Christ and to men. It depends entirely on Christ and on his unique priesthood; it has been instituted for the good of men, and the communion of the Church. The sacrament of Holy Orders communicates a ‘sacred power’ which is none other than that of Christ. The exercise of this authority must therefore be measured against the model of Christ, who by love made himself the least and the servant of all,” (CCC 1551).
Requirements for the catholic Priesthood?
To become a Catholic priest, you must be a devout Roman Catholic male willing to lead an unmarried, celibate lifestyle. Integrity, virtuous character and close affiliation with a Catholic congregation will also be expected.
Admission requirements for the seminary vary by diocese and religious order. In most cases, accepted applicants are between the ages of 17 and 55 years old. A criminal background check, medical examination and psychological screening are typically required.
If accepted, you’ll be required to undergo rigorous theological study and a process of discernment to confirm your calling to the priesthood leading to ordination.
The readings of today have talks about the Call of Elisha and how we are to answer call from God. The Commentary on the Gospel of Luke 9:51-62 according to Michael Rogness takes about us answering the call of God. Having read about the Catholic Priesthood today, it will be a gain to the Kingdom of God that one of my readers picks interest in Joining the Catholic Priesthood.
May God Bless you abundantly. Have a Gracious and Live Changing week ahead.