The two sacraments of Holy Orders and Matrimony, confer a special grace for a particular mission in the Church to serve and build up the People of God. They contribute in a special way to ecclesial communion and to the salvation of others.
This sacramental ministry in the Church consists of three ranks – the bishops, the priests, and the deacons - who all share in the ministerial priesthood of Jesus Christ, and their ministry is grounded in him; they represent the Church.
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.
The ordination of a Bishop is called Episcopal Ordination which confers the fullness of the Sacrament of Holy Orders. It makes a bishop a legitimate successor of the apostles and integrates him into the episcopal college to share with the Pope and the other bishops care for all the churches. It confers on him the offices of teaching, sanctifying and ruling. When a bishop is entrusted the care of a particular church, he is the visible head and foundation of unity for that church, and as a Vicar of Christ, he fulfils the office of shepherd and is assisted by own priests and deacons.
When a priest is ordained he is anointed with the Spirit which seals the priest with an indelible, spiritual character that configures him to Christ the priest and enables him to act in the name of Christ the Head. The priest watches over and leads his community. He preaches and explains the Gospel, officiates at the Eucharist, celebrates and administers the sacraments. At his ordination, the bishop anoints him with the holy chrism and is the first to impose hands on him – followed by the other priests who are present at the ordination. The newly ordained priest makes a solemn promise of obedience to his bishop.
Deacons too, whose ministry is to assist the priests, are ordained by the bishop and given a role of service within the community. Married men, can be admitted to the diaconate. They have no power to celebrate the Eucharist, forgive sins in Confession or anoint the sick. Their task is to serve the poor in the community, to assist a Holy Mass and support the priest.
To learn how you can receive this sacrament, please visit our vocations page.
When a man and a woman meet, fall in love and wish to spend their lives together, they make a promise to be faithful to each other for life. They confer on each other the Sacrament of Matrimony. And because it is the love of God and not just their own shared love, they make their promises publicly, in front of a priest or a deacon who represents the Church, and before two other witnesses.
They seal their covenant by the fact of their giving of themselves to each other – thus they become “one body and one soul”, so to find wholeness and happiness. So from their oneness new life can now arise: husband and wife become father and mother.
For information on the requirements of booking and preparing for a marriage please contact your local parish.
Marriage education can be recommended by Parish priests and is available through CatholicCare see their Pre-Marriage Education Programs.
Source: (From the Compendium of the Catechism of the Catholic Church and I Believe – A Little Catholic Catechism).