Holy Orders

Holy Orders is the Sacrament of Apostolic Ministry of the Church. This sacrament was instituted by Jesus at the Last Supper to share in the work of his priesthood. The Church confers this sacrament on baptized men in three degrees: bishop, priest and deacon. The Sacrament of Holy Orders imprints a sacramental character on the soul of the newly ordained that configures him to Christ. During the Ordination Mass, the essential rite and the most solemn and visible sign of the sacrament occurs when the Bishop lays his hands on the head of the newly ordained while silently calling forth the Holy Spirit upon each. Bishops and priests are given the sacramental power to celebrate Mass, forgive sins in the Sacrament of Reconciliation, and administer the Sacrament of Anointing of the Sick. Bishops, priests and deacons preach the Gospel and are the ordinary witnesses for the Sacraments of Baptism and Matrimony.