Last Sunday we celebrated Priesthood Sunday and this weekend we celebrate National Vocation Awareness Week. I think the write up below will give some information to those wondering what it means to be a Religious or a Diocesan priest. I also take this opportunity to THANK each one of you for your prayers for us, your priests, every day and especially on Priesthood Sunday. Thanks also for the kindness you show towards us through your words and good deeds. May God Bless you all.
In honor of Priesthood Sunday, the Faith Formation children honored both priests with a poster sending their thankfulness in messages written on their personalized lambs.
What are the differences between religious order priests and diocesan priests?
Religious Order Priests – Priests who are members of a religious order are community men. They choose to live out their lives within the structure of the vows and community life, while pursuing a ministry of loving service which flows out of the particular charism of their community (care for the poor, healing, education, media, foreign missions, etc.). As community members, they elect their superiors who then send them to missions where they are best suited and most needed. Many religious communities have an option for missions worldwide. Religious priests celebrate the Mass and administer the sacraments. Their daily Mass and prayer in community support their call to religious life and their total commitment to the service of the gospel.
Diocesan Priests – Diocesan priests are ordained for ministry in a particular diocese, with accountability to the Bishop of that diocese. They are men of prayer and are to be obedient to their bishop. Their ministries are dictated by the call of their bishop and the needs of their diocese. The vast majority of diocesan priests serve as parish priests, which encompasses hospital visitation, family counselling, youth activities, and parish organization. At the heart of their commitment to Christ is the celebration of daily Mass and administration of the sacraments. Diocesan priests do not ordinarily live in community situations and must be capable of living on their own. This vocation is demanding since there is no community with which to pray, outside the celebration of Mass and sacraments, unless the priests form one for this purpose. Often a priest will say, “My parish is my community.” Diocesan priests are encouraged by their bishops to form strong relationships with their brother priests for prayer, sharing, support, and relaxation.
Prayer for Vocations
Lord Jesus, grant our young people generosity to follow your call and courage to overcome all obstacles to their vocation. Give their parents the faith, love, and spirit of sacrifice to offer their children to God’s service and to rejoice when one of them is called to priesthood or religious life. Let the example of our Blessed Mother and Saint Joseph encourage young people and parents, and let your grace sustain them. Amen.