Know Your Faith The Role of the Priest

In the Catholic Church, a priest is an ordained minister who has received the sacrament of Holy Orders and is authorized to perform certain rites and administer certain sacraments. The priesthood is one of the three holy orders of the Church, along with the diaconate (deacons) and the episcopate (bishops).

Priests are typically responsible for leading parish communities, celebrating Mass, hearing confessions, giving absolutions, performing baptisms, witnessing marriages, anointing the sick, and carrying out other duties of pastoral care and administration within their parish.

There are two types of priests in the Catholic Church: diocesan priests and religious priests. Diocesan priests are ordained to serve in a particular diocese, usually under the jurisdiction of a bishop, and they primarily work in parishes, schools, or other Catholic institutions within that diocese.

Religious priests, on the other hand, are members of a religious order, such as the Jesuits or Franciscans. They take vows according to the rules of their order and can be assigned to various ministries by their superior, which could be teaching, hospital work, missionary work, or parish work, among others, either within their own country or in other parts of the world.

While the roles of priests can vary, their central purpose remains the same: to serve as spiritual leaders to Catholics and to help them in their journey of faith.