If you feel you might be called to the Priesthood, please visit the web site: www.pghpriest.com.
“As he was walking by the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon who is called Peter, and his brother Andrew, casting a net into the sea; they were fishermen. He said to them, “Come after me, and I will make you fishers of men.” At once they left their nets and followed him.” -Mt 4:18-20
Jesus calls summons disciples to share in His ministry. These men, leaving their occupations in the world, follow Jesus as He preaches and heals. They observe Him closely and receive special instructions. At the Last Supper, Jesus confers upon the twelve apostles, the power to offer the Eucharistic Sacrifice. Thus, as Jesus institutes the Holy Eucharist, he also institutes the priesthood. Moreover, after the Resurrection, the apostles receive the power to forgive sins and the commission to baptize.
In our times, Jesus still calls men to share in His priesthood for the salvation of souls. This call, or vocation, to the priesthood is discerned by the Church. As Jesus summoned the apostles for a special time of instruction and formation before they were send out, the Church now has seminaries where men preparing for the priesthood study and receive priestly formation.
The successors to the apostles are the bishops. Bishops have the fullness of the priesthood, and it is only the bishop who can ordain men to the priesthood or diaconate. The parish priest represents the bishop in his parish community.
Because of the needs of the Christian community, the apostles summoned certain men to be deacons (cf. Acts 6). Deacons continue to fulfill an integral role in the life of the Church through their assistance at the liturgy and in the charitable works of the Church.
Regarding Holy Orders, the Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches the following: