A priest is a baptised man who has received the Sacrament of Holy Orders from a Catholic Bishop after a time of discernment and preparation in Seminary. Through this sacrament, a man enters into the ministerial priesthood which gives him a sacred power to serve (CCC 1592). The ministerial priesthood is given to serve the common priesthood; all the people of God are called to participate in the common priesthood (CCC 1546-1547).
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” (CCC 1589)
Discerning the Call from God
A vocation to be a priest is an initiative of love from the heart of God. He calls in a gentle and loving way and invites us to respond in freedom. Discerning a vocation to the priesthood takes time, prayer, reflection, patience and attentiveness to God’s action – undertaken with the assistance of others. It also takes courage to respond to the interior movements of the Holy Spirit. Is God calling you to be His priest? Contact the Pastor or Peoria Diocese Vocations office for guidance.