Some men are called to serve Jesus and the Church today through the celebration of the Sacrament of Holy Orders. Through their leadership in the Church, they help continue Jesus’ presence on earth in the tradition of the apostles.
There are three levels of participation in the Sacrament of Holy Orders: as bishop, as priest (from presbyter, which is Greek for “elder”), and as deacon.
Those who are called to be priests are ordained through the Rite of Ordination. Priests serve the community in various ways. They may be called to serve in their dioceses or as religious order priests, carrying out the mission of a particular religious community. They preside at liturgies, preach, administer the sacraments, counsel people, serve as pastors, and teach.
Deacons are ordained for service in the Church. There are deacons who are studying to become priests. There are deacons that include married men who are called to remain deacons for life and to serve the Church in this capacity. Deacons proclaim the gospel, and assist the church by teaching and preaching, baptizing, witnessing marriages, and assisting the priest celebrant at liturgies.