While all the baptized participate in the priesthood of Jesus Christ, some men are called, ordained and commissioned to serve all God's people.

Have you ever thought God might be calling you to the priesthood?

The priesthood is a vocation. No man can claim this gift for himself, only those who are called by God, consecrated by the Sacrament of Holy Orders and sent forth to all people in service of the Church. The priest answers God's call by trusting God, striving for holiness and living for others.

The author of the Letter to the Hebrews describes the priest as a man who is chosen by God to act as a living bridge between heaven and earth, a representative among humanity before God (cf. Hebrews 5:1). Stated differently, the priest brings people to Jesus and Jesus to people.


Who Are Priests?
Priests are living instruments of Christ the eternal priest. What priests do - baptizing, celebrating Mass, forgiving sins, instilling hope, advocating peace, reconciling people, protecting the weak and vulnerable - is entirely dependent on who they are by the grace of ordination. The priesthood is first a question of who priests are, then, and only then, a question of what they do.

Priests Are Men of Prayer
As ordained representatives of Jesus Christ, priests commit themselves to praying daily for the Church and the world.

Acting in the name of Jesus Christ and as his ministers, priests perform sacred functions and administer the Sacraments. In these holy events, priests are entrusted with the highest privilege and gift of making the presence of God real and personal for all people.

Only by cultivating an intimate relationship with Jesus Christ by means of praying faithfully is the priest able to teach God's Word effectively and lead all people toward heaven.

Priests Are Leaders of God's People
Priests are called to lead God's People in a manner that is marked by self-giving and self-sacrifice. As mediators between God and humanity and icons of Jesus Christ, priests are to demonstrate with their lives the words spoken by Our Lord: "Anyone who wants to be first among you must be slave to all. For the Son of Man himself did not come to be served but to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many" (Mark 10:44-45). Properly exercised, priestly leadership seeks always to strengthen faith, enkindle hope, and build up the Church into the People of God and Body of Christ.


Priests Are Teachers of God's Word

Priests have the primary duty of proclaiming the Gospel of God to all people. In this way they build up the people of God and fulfill the command of Our Lord: "Go out to the whole world and proclaim the Good News to all creation"(Mark 16:15). Priests do not rely on their own wisdom or ingenuity, but rather teach the word of Christ, encouraging hearers to conversion and holiness by applying the truth of the Gospel to the particular circumstances of life.


What Do Priests Do?
In the 21st century, priests of the Diocese of Toledo honor God daily by reaching out to all sectors of human life as leaders of prayer, parish pastors, high school and university educators, hospital and prison chaplains, retreat masters and skilled counselors.

Priests encounter and help people at the most significant times in their lives. In good times and bad and sickness and in health people invite priests into their lives. By means of the Sacrament of Holy Orders, priests bear the presence of Jesus Christ and are commissioned to share it generously and enthusiastically with all people (cf. Matthew 28:19).

© 2006 Toledo Vocations. All Rights Reserved.