It is true that through their baptism all Christians are called to proclaim the Gospel and care for their brothers and sisters in need, but in the Gospels we note that Jesus very deliberately called certain men to take on a special role in the community. Catholics believe that Christ still calls men to ministry through the church, and that the word “call” is very important. We use the word “vocation” from the Latin “to call” – to express that important principle. This is not something that anyone can take on by themselves or that anyone has a “right” to. This is a ministry that someone is “called” to in the church and by the church. To be a Bishop, Priest or Deacon is an extraordinary privilege and an extraordinary responsibility. It can never be taken lightly and must always be exercised solely for the good of the Gospel and the people of God. Anything else is an appalling scandal.
Priests are called to be ministers of the sacraments, to care for God’s people and preach and proclaim the gospel. In this country those coming to ordination to the priesthood are normally required to take a vow of celibacy. Deacons are ordained ministers who often have or have had full-time employment and who assist in preaching, celebrating weddings, funerals and baptisms and helping to care for God’s people.
They are to serve Christ the Teacher, Priest and Pastor in his ministry which is to make his own body, the Church, grow incessantly into the people of God and the Temple of the Holy Spirit. . . By consecration priests and deacons will preach the Gospel, sustain God’s people and celebrate the Liturgy, above all the Lord’s sacrifice. From the way they go about these duties, may you recognise them as disciples of Jesus, who came to serve, not to be served.
Priests can be Diocesan priests who belong to a specific diocese – like the Diocese of Plymouth which covers Dorset, Devon and Cornwall. Other priests can be part of a religious community or order, each of which has its own traditions and areas of work. Deacons are usually men who minister within a parish alongside the parish priest and take responsibility for various aspects of parish life.
If you have thought of enquiring about becoming a priest or deacon for this Diocese, there is a link here, if you would like further information of other forms of ordained ministry there is a link here.