Priestly Ordination: Here’s How One Becomes a Priest

Priestly Ordination: Here’s How One Becomes a Priest

With Priestly Ordination, a man becomes a priest in every sense. Here’s how the rite unfolds, how his life changes, and how friends and family can show their support with a unique gift.

Today we are discussing Priestly Ordination, one of the seven Sacraments. First, we need to understand what is meant by a presbyter in the Catholic Christian religion. A presbyter is a man of the Church endowed with the faculty to preside over religious ceremonies, lead the community, and preach the word of God. In practice, this is what we commonly call a priest, who is responsible for administering the Sacraments, performing all pastoral duties, and possibly presiding over a parish as a pastor. The word comes from the Greek “presbýteros,” meaning “elder,” which gave rise to the Latin word “presbyter,” from which the term “priest” is also derived.

Catholic Church

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The Rite of Priestly Ordination is the second level of Holy Orders and ordains Presbyters, men chosen to collaborate with Bishops, who, like the Bishops, can preach the Word, administer the Sacraments and the Eucharist, and manage a parish. What a Presbyter cannot do is confer Holy Orders themselves; this task, at all levels, is reserved for Bishops.

Usually, the person receiving Priestly Ordination is already a Deacon, having received the first level of Holy Orders and already collaborating with a priest. The Diocesan Bishop administers the Ordination in the cathedral during a grand solemn ceremony.

The Sacrament of Holy Orders

There is no real difference between a priest, a presbyter, and a presbyter: in all cases, we are talking about a man who has received the second level of the Sacrament of Holy Orders. The single Sacrament of Holy Orders is, in fact, divided into three levels: Diaconate, Presbyterate, and Episcopate.

The first level of Holy Orders is the Diaconate, designating Deacons as helpers of the Bishops. They can preach the word of God, administer Baptism, assist in other Sacraments, but they do not have the pastoral and sacred functions of Presbyters.

The second level, the Presbyterate, designates presbyters or priests, whom we are discussing in this article.

The third level, the Episcopate, is conferred upon Bishops, considered the successors of the Apostles. By virtue of this ordination, they are entrusted with the three ministries of teaching, pastoral governance, and sanctification.

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The Rite of Priestly Ordination

The rite of Ordination is divided into:

  • Introductory Rites: These include the presentation of the future presbyter by a deacon, who calls him by name, the dialogue between the ordaining Bishop and the priest who has prepared the candidate, and the Bishop’s questioning of the candidates about their willingness to assume the commitments of holy ordination.
  • The Ordination Proper
  • Explanatory Rites

In the introductory rites, the Bishop’s Interrogation is particularly important, consisting of five questions concerning the future priest’s willingness to:

  1. Cooperate in absolute fidelity with the Order of Bishops, in the service of the people of God and under the guidance of the Holy Spirit.
  2. Assume the ministry of the Word to teach it.
  3. Celebrate the mysteries of Christ, particularly the Eucharist.
  4. Commit to prayer.
  5. Accept their role as a victim offered to the Father for the salvation of men, just like Jesus.

The candidates respond together saying, “Yes, I do.” To the last question, they respond, “Yes, with the help of God, I do.” The Interrogation is followed by the Promise of Obedience, in which each candidate places his hands between the Bishop’s hands and promises “filial respect and obedience” to him and his successors.

The Ordination Proper consists of the Laying on of Hands by the Bishop on each candidate’s head, followed by the Prayer of Consecration spoken by the ordaining Bishop alone.

This is followed by the Explanatory Rites:

  • The Vesting with Priestly Garments, where the new presbyters put on the stole and chasuble;
  • The Anointing of the Palms with Chrism;
  • The Presentation of the Bread and Wine for the Eucharistic Celebration.

At the end of the ritual, the Bishop embraces and kisses each candidate (the Kiss of Peace), and the new presbyters concelebrate the Eucharist with him and all the other priests present.

The host

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Priestly Ordination Gift Ideas

Given the importance of Priestly Consecration in the life of a man who has chosen to dedicate his life to the priesthood, it is natural for friends and family to participate in this fundamental step. It is common to give a special gift to the young newly-ordained priest, usually items that might be useful in his new life as a priest or pastor.

These gifts range from clothing, such as the classic Clergyman Cassock or actual Sacred Vestments, like the Stole or Chasuble. Liturgical objects and accessories needed to celebrate Mass are also useful: chalice, ciborium, paten, and monstrance, which should be gold or silver; chasubles, tunicles, copes, humeral veils, which should be silk; albs, purificators, palls, altar cloths, and amices in linen or hemp.

For young priests or those intending to travel frequently, pilgrimage sets and travel cases are also useful. Books are timeless gifts, especially special editions of Liturgical Texts or a Bible to carry with them.

Other, more personal, gift ideas can include religious-themed art objects, from paintings to statues to sacred furnishings, as well as frames, fountain pens, and lecterns. Visit our online shop to discover many original and unforgettable ideas for this unique occasion.

long sleeved clergy shirt in black cotton blend
Long-sleeved clergy shirt in black cotton blend In Primis Buy on Holyart
chasuble 100 polyester golden embellishments
Chasuble 100% polyester golden embellishments Buy on Holyart
altar linens set 100 linen-ihs and vine
Altar linens set 100% linen IHS and vine Buy on Holyart
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Sick call kit leather case magnetic closure Buy on Holyart
bible holder olive wood handmade bethlehem hands 21 cm
Bible holder olive wood handmade Bethlehem hands 21 cm Buy on Holyart
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Russian antique icon Twelve Feasts restored 30x40 cm Buy on Holyart