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Stained Glass Symbolizing the Sacrament of Holy Orders

Order is a true sacrament instituted by Christ who ordained the Apostles at the Last Supper. It is administered by the laying on of hands and the key phrases of the ordination preface. Only a Bishop can validly ordain. Order is a purely ecclesiastical concern. The effect of the sacrament of order is to impart the Holy Spirit and to impress an indelible character, which permanently distinguishes those in orders from the laity. The laity also has a part in Christ's priesthood, but in another manner. 

The sacrament of holy orders is conferred in three ranks of clergy: bishops, priests, and deacons. 

Bishops (episcopoi) have the care of multiple congregations and appoint, ordain, and discipline priests and deacons. They sometimes appear to be called "evangelists" in the New Testament. Examples of first-century bishops include Timothy and Titus (1 Tim. 5:19–22; 2 Tim. 4:5; Titus 1:5). 

Priests (presbuteroi) are also known as "presbyters" or "elders." In fact, the English term "priest" is simply a contraction of the Greek word presbuteros. They have the responsibility of teaching, governing, and providing the sacraments in a given congregation (1 Tim. 5:17; Jas. 5:14–15).  

Deacons (diakonoi) are the assistants of the bishops and are responsible for teaching and administering certain Church tasks, such as the distribution of food (Acts 6:1–6).  

Might God be calling you? If you are a Catholic man who thinks God might be calling you to the priesthood or Catholic woman who thinks God may be calling you to the consecrated life please explore more on our Vocations page and consider contacting Fr. Ray Medina at (661) 942-7122 x135 or by email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 

Vocations Office of Archdiocese of Los Angeles