In the Person of Christ
As head of the Body, in persona Christi,
the pastor offers his care and service to the members of the parish, who in turn offer him the gift of their own vocations, gifts, talents and friendship. The complementary vocations to the priesthood, religious life, marriage and the laity ensure that Christ is present in every aspect of human life in the parish boundaries and beyond.
The Sacrament of Holy Orders is the continuation of Christ’s priesthood, which He bestowed upon His Apostles; thus, the Catechism of the Catholic Church refers to the Sacrament of Holy Orders as “the sacrament of apostolic ministry.”
“Ordination” comes from the Latin word ordinatio, which means to incorporate someone into an order. In the Sacrament of Holy Orders, a man is incorporated into the priesthood of Christ, at one of three levels: the episcopate, the priesthood, or the diaconate.
Holy Orders is a unique sacrament
There are two notable ways in which the sacrament of Holy Orders differs from the other sacraments.
One is the fact that Holy Orders can be administered only by a bishop. Only a bishop has the power to ordain priests. An ordinary priest cannot pass his power on to another.
The second way in which Holy Orders differs from other sacraments is that Holy Orders is not received all at once.
When we are baptized, we are completely baptized by the single pouring of water. When we are confirmed, we are completely confirmed in a single ceremony. Holy Orders, however, is given by degrees, by successive steps.