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Chapter 20. Holy Orders • 273

2. How can faith be strengthened by the effective preaching of priests

and deacons? How can faith be strengthened through the ministry

of priests as confessors?

3. What could you do to foster vocations to the priesthood? How

could you also foster vocations to the permanent diaconate?


• Through Baptism all the members of the Church share in the priest-

hood of Christ. This is known as the “common priesthood of

the faithful.”

• Through Holy Orders there is another participation in Christ’s

priesthood, the ministerial priesthood of bishop and priest. This dif-

fers in essence from the common priesthood because it confers a

sacred power for the service of the faithful.

• The ordained ministry occurs in three degrees or orders: bishop,

priest, and deacon. These ministries are essential for the life of

the Church.

• Bishops receive the fullness of the Sacrament of Holy Orders. They

are the chief teachers, sanctifiers, and shepherds in their dioceses.

• “Priests are united with the bishops in priestly dignity and at

the same time depend on them in the exercise of their pastoral

functions; they are called to be the bishops’ prudent co-workers”

(CCC, no. 1595). With the bishop, priests form a presbyteral

(priestly) community and assume with him the pastoral mission for

a particular parish.

• Deacons receive the Sacrament of Holy Orders, but not the minis-

terial priesthood. Through ordination, the deacon is conformed to

Christ, who came to serve, not to be served. Deacons in the Latin

Church may baptize, read the Gospel, preach the homily, assist the

bishop or priest in the celebration of the Eucharist, assist at and bless

marriages, and preside at funerals. They dedicate themselves to char-

itable endeavors, which was their ministerial role in New Testament


• “The

essential rite

of the Sacrament of Holy Orders for all three

degrees consists in the bishop’s imposition of hands on the head of