FAQ’s about Priesthood

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Who is a Catholic priest?

A Catholic Priest is a man who has been called by God to serve the Church in the person of Christ the Head. He is a man who loves God, the Church and the People he serves. He exercises this love through his promises of celibacy, obedience and simplicity of life. He is a man rooted in prayer, who joyfully and sacrificially lives his life for others.

Who is a diocesan priest?

A Diocesan priest is a parish Priest. “Diocesan” comes from a Greek word meaning “to keep house,” and “parish” (also a Greek word) means “A dwelling beside or near.” A diocesan priest is the priest involved in the day-to-day lives of people. He “lives near them” in every way, and helps the local bishop to “keep house” in the family of God, either as an Associate Pastor or as a Pastor (and sometimes in ministries like teaching, or serving as a campus minister, or as a chaplain in a hospital, a military base, or a prison). A parish priest in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia is committed to the family of God living in the five counties of Southeastern Pennsylvania.

What’s the difference between a religious priest and a diocesan priest?

A religious priest (a member of a religious order or society) takes the vow of poverty as well as vows of celibacy and obedience. Usually, he lives with a number of other priests or brothers of his religious community. His service to the Church may extend beyond the diocese: he can expect to be sent anywhere in the world where his community is working. A diocesan priest, on the other hand, ordinarily serves within the diocese for which he is ordained. He makes a commitment to his bishop. He does not, however, take a vow of poverty. Instead, he is paid a salary from which he must pay for his own car, gas, insurance, clothes and personal needs.

Why be a priest?

A man who is a priest, is a priest not for himself but for others. The priesthood is a powerful and unique way of life which provides for the Spiritual Needs of others. He is truly God’s unique presence in the world with the power to make God present. One is not ordained or one does not become a priest for himself, he is ordained for others. Laying down one’s life so that others may live.

What does a priest do?

The ministry of a priest always depends somewhat on his particular interest and skills. The basic thrust of the ministry of a priest is to proclaim the Word of God. He does this in a variety of ways. He may spend much of his time in preparation for and in celebration of the sacraments (Eucharist, Reconciliation, Baptism, Funerals, Marriage, Sacrament of the Sick). Each day he sets some time aside for prayer. Visiting the sick, visiting people in their homes, and working with the various parish and neighborhood organizations are all part of his ministry, too. The diocesan priest must also be available to people when they have special needs. He is frequently involved in individual counseling, (marriage problems, drug problems, parent/teacher problems, or just life in general). He chooses to live with a certain community of faith (a parish), and thus is involved as a leader with the social and spiritual concerns of his people. Like anyone else, a priest must also find some time for exercise, rest and relaxation – time when he can do whatever he enjoys; things like sports, hobbies, music, etc.

Who qualifies?

A single man with average intelligence, emotional stability, a habit of generosity and a sincere love for God qualifies for priesthood. He should enjoy working with a variety of people and be committed to making the world a better place through priestly ministry. He should be a happy individual who loves life and is willing to dive head first into all God wants of him. He should seek after holiness, be faithful to the Church’s teachings and be loyal to the Holy Father.

“What’s a typical day like for a priest?”

Everyday for the priest is different depending on the work he is involved in. The one thing, however, that is common to every priest is the celebration of the Mass. Every priest celebrates the Eucharist each day. Having made Jesus present in the Eucharist, the priest is called to make Jesus present in all the hours of his day. This may be at meetings, nursing homes, hospitals, teaching, preaching or just being present with others. The priest’s life is a life for others. It is a life of loving service. Thus, his typical day while not predictable must always have the mark of service, first to God then others.

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