What are Holy Orders?
Deacons, priests, and bishops have all accepted the calling of Holy Orders, and they are the ministers of the Catholic Church. Men called to Holy Orders will minister to the community after many years of study.
Why are Holy Orders important?
For priests and Bishops, Holy Orders “configures them to Christ” in a special way so that they can act in the person of Christ the Head and lead His Holy Church. In the sacrament of Holy Orders, Christ has provided us with an essential link to himself. Holy Orders continue the tradition of Jesus and His apostles.
Above all else, Holy Orders makes possible the extraordinary gift of the Sacrifice of the Mass—a gift from Christ himself.
Who can receive Holy Orders?
Catholics believe that men who have been baptized can be called by God to minister to His Church. They then need to submit to the authority of the Church and proceed through many years of study and discernment before becoming ministers.
Holy Orders is the sacrament through which the mission entrusted by Christ to his apostles continues to be exercised in the Church until the end of time: thus it is the sacrament of apostolic ministry. It includes three degrees: episcopate, presbyterate, and diaconate. CCC 1536