Why be a Priest?

Has your heart been pierced by the love of the Lord?

Priests bring God’s love and grace to the world in a radical way. Through preaching the Gospel and administering the sacraments, the priest stands as the human face of the Church, the face of Christ – supporting and caring for all He meets.

If you have a friendship with Jesus Christ and wish to share His goodness with others; if you love the Catholic Church and desire to help it flourish; if you value the gift of life and desire to spend yours in service to an eternal cause, these desires can be fulfilled in a priestly vocation lived well.

Defining Priesthood

What is a priest?

Priests are living witnesses of Christ in the world. The Catholic Priesthood was instituted by Christ at the Last Supper to enable those men whom He calls to stand in His place and carry on His ministry in the world, through His Church.

Pope Saint John Paul II once said that “A priest is a man who offers his whole humanity to God so that God might use him as an instrument of salvation.” God ordains the man to serve – as Christ came to serve – and to lead people to their greatest good; namely, heaven.

The priest does this in many ways, but the dignity and essence of the ordained priesthood resides not first in what he does, but in who he is: Priests are the face of Jesus in our world today.

Continuing the Ministry of Christ

A priest offers the ministry of Jesus Christ to us today. When a priest offers the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, it is Christ who offers the sacrifice. When he absolves sins in the Sacrament of Reconciliation, it is Christ who forgives. When he partakes in the mission of the Church to teach and evangelize, it is Christ who speaks through him. When he offers love, comfort, and support to God’s people, Christ is truly present with them.

For this reason, St John Vianney explained the priesthood in the following terms: “The priest continues the work of redemption on earth… If we really understood the priest on earth, we would not die of fright but of love… The priest is the love of the heart of Jesus.

Taken from among Men to Serve

A Catholic priest is a baptized man who has received the Sacrament of Holy Orders. Through this sacrament, a man enters the ministerial priesthood which gives him a sacred power from God to serve.

The ministerial priesthood, exercised by an ordained priest, is given to serve the common priesthood; all the people of God are called to participate in the common priesthood. A priest is “a means by which Christ unceasingly builds up and leads His Church,” therefore, it is the mission of the Catholic priest “to feed the Church by the word and grace of God.”

As such, a priest is a mediator or ‘bridge-builder’ between God and man; he does this by participating in the one priesthood of Jesus Christ, who unites God and humanity in his very being. The priest carries out this ‘bridge-building’ through teaching, divine worship, and leading the people.

Configured to Christ, the Good Shepherd

The Priest is configured to Christ the Good Shepherd, and is truly most himself when in imitation of the Good Shepherd. Prayer enables him to recognize the sheep, those whom the Father has given him.

These are, in the first place, those whom the Good Shepherd has placed on the path of his priestly ministry, of his pastoral care. They are children, adults and the aged. They are the young people, married couples, and families, but also those who are alone. They are the sick, the suffering, the dying; they are those who are spiritually close, but also those who are distant. Those who for different reasons are negatively disposed, those who find themselves in difficulties of various sorts, those who are struggling against vices and sin, those who are fighting for faith and hope, those who seek the Priest’s help and those who reject it. These are the people the priest is called to seek and to serve in imitation of the Good Shepherd.

Subscribe to our newsletter