Priests today continue the work of the priests who, in the preceding millennia, have made Christ present to people. By their lives of service to others, priests seek to procure nothing less than the glory of God the Father in Christ Jesus. As ordained servants of Christ, priests give witness to a life and love other than that of this earth. Configured specially and permanently to Christ by means of the Sacrament of Holy Orders, priests live in the world so that through them people may come to hear the voice of Christ and respond to His call joyfully and obediently.
Priests today continue to live the perfect and permanent priesthood of Jesus, not merely representing Him as an ambassador represents a nation or leader, but to act in His person and truly make Him present. Whether devoting themselves to prayer and adoration, preaching the Word, or offering the Eucharistic Sacrifice and administering the other Sacraments for the benefit of all people, priests are contributing at once to the increase of God’s glory and people’s growth in the divine life.
PRIESTS SANCTIFYING GOD’S PEOPLE
Priests pray and inspire people to pray. Priests carry out sacred functions for the benefit of the Christian faithful. In the Sacrament of Baptism, priests initiate people into the Church. In the Sacrament of Penance, (also called Reconciliation and Confession) priests remove the burdens of sin and reconcile people with God and His Church. During the Sacrament of Anointing of the Sick, priests pray expressly for those people who are seriously ill and in need of healing. In the Sacrament of Marriage, priests celebrate the mutual and permanent exchange of love whose origin is God’s love. The celebration of the Eucharist (also called the Holy Mass) is the center - the heart - of a priest’s life of prayer.
PRIESTS LEADING GOD’S PEOPLE
Priests are leaders. Unlike worldly CEOs, priestly leadership is shaped and seen in their love for people. Priestly leadership is aimed always toward leading people to God. As priests lead people to God they also bring people together, gathering many into one flock, and forming one family of God. Priestly leadership is born of faith, formed by love, and empowered by hope. Unlike hirelings who work for pay, priests are like shepherds willing to lay down their lives for the sheep.
PRIESTS TEACHING GOD’S PEOPLE
Priests are teachers. The task of proclaiming, preaching, and teaching the Word of God is fundamental to the life and ministry of priests. Priests are servants of God’s Word, seeking always to make the Bible meaningful and instructive in the daily lives of people. Committing themselves to becoming increasingly conformed to the Word of God, priests meditate daily on God’s Word, allowing it to transform their lives so that their words and actions will build up God’s Church.
IN THE DIOCESE OF TOLEDO
Of the 227 total priests who live and serve in the Diocese of Toledo, the vast majority are commonly called Diocesan Priests as they have made their permanent home here among us in Northwest Ohio. Some of the priests ministering in our diocese belong to religious orders. There are a few priests working in our diocese who belong to Eastern Rites of the Catholic Church. Here is the breakdown:
• Diocesan Priests (188) 83%
• Religious Order Priests (36) 16%
• Eastern Rite Priests (3) 1%
Religious Order Priests Serving in the Diocese of Toledo
• Oblates of Saint Frances de Sales http://www.oblates.us
• Society of Jesus (“Jesuits”) http://www.jesuits-chgdet.org
• Friars Minor Conventual (“Franciscans”) http://www.franciscans.org
• Missionaries of the Precious Blood http://www.cpps-preciousblood.org
• Congregation of the Holy Ghost (“Spiritans”) http://www.spiritans.org
• Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer (“Redemptorists”) http://www.redemptorists.net
Eastern Rite Priests Serving in the Diocese of Toledo
• Byzantine Rite http://www.parma.org
• Byzantine-Ukrainian Rite http://www.stjosaphateparchy.org