This Sacrament ordains lay people as priests and deacons for the service of the Body of Christ, the Church. Ordination is by a bishop and consecrates a person for a life-long commitment, following the example of Christ who “came not to be served by to serve and to give his life…”
In the Roman Catholic tradition, the priesthood and diaconate are reserved to men who are also required to commit to celibacy. Widowers can be accepted for ordination but, once ordained, priests give up the right to marry.
In their ministry, priests and deacons are concerned to nourish the faith of the people by providing for their pastoral needs, especially through the Sacraments and by proclaiming the living Word of God.
The ministerial priesthood, as distinct from the priesthood common to all the baptised, “is directed at the unfolding of the baptismal grace of all Christians…(it) is a means by which Christ unceasingly builds up and leads his Church. For this reason it is transmitted by its own sacrament, the sacrament of Holy Orders.” [Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1547]Catechism of the Catholic Church, Paragraph 1536