Holy Orders & Religious Life

Holy Orders & Religious Life

Holy Orders

Priesthood

Through the Sacrament of Baptism, all the faithful share in the universal priesthood of Jesus Christ. It is through Baptism that we receive our dignity as Christians and join the community of those who believe in the Good News. Throughout its history, the Christian community has called forth from its members men who are selected and ordained to a special ministerial role, received in the sacrament of Holy Orders, in order that they may lead the community and sanctify the people of God.

The priest is to devote himself first and foremost to the proclamation of the Gospel and the celebration of the liturgy. In doing so, he is the spiritual leader of the community. The proclamation of the Gospel may take various forms. The priest witnesses to the Gospel through a variety of ministerial service, education and parish ministry. It is the role of the priest to make present by word, deed and sacrament the love of God revealed in the Lord Jesus.

The Spirit calls men of every generation to serve God and His people in the ministry of the priesthood. There are several different programs of priestly formation available for every age group from high school to men in their fifties and sixties. If any man or boy in the parish is interested in learning more about the priesthood or feels called by God to this vocation, he is invited to discuss it further with the pastor.

 

Diaconate

Another level of participation within the Sacrament of Holy Orders is the diaconate. In the early Church, deacons were active in the Church in the work of service and administration. The word “deacon” derives from the ancient Greek word “diakonia,” which means “service.” For many years, the diaconate was merely the final step in preparation for the priesthood. The Second Vatican Council has now restored a permanent diaconate as a unique role in the Church, open to both married and single men. These permanent Deacons are once again active in the Church in roles of service and in presiding at baptisms, marriage, funerals, service at the altar and other liturgies. While some deacons are in preparation for priesthood, others have committed themselves permanently to serve the Church as a Permanent Deacon. The Archdiocese of New Orleans provides a program for permanent diaconate formation. New classes usually begin every one or two years. More information is available from the pastor and deacons.

 

Religious Life

From the very beginning of the Church, there have existed groups of men and women who strive joyfully to participate more fully in the redemptive work of Christ, by the vowed practice of poverty, chastity and obedience. The Church is blessed today with many religious families or communities, whose lives are based upon these three vows. The lifestyle and manner of service of each such family is unique in special service to the Church. Some communities lead a more solitary, cloistered life; some, a more active life of service and prayer. But all seek a deeper relationship with Christ and, thus, give witness to the Church of a proper response to the universal call to holiness.

Any man interested in becoming a priest, a brother or deacon, or any woman interested in religious life as a sister, should speak to the pastor of Sts. Peter and Paul Parish. He can assist in a search for the most appropriate religious community in which to serve.