Holy Orders is the sacrament in which a bishop imposes hands upon a man, and uses the prescribed prayer, to confer spiritual power and grace to carry out the ordained ministry of the Church. Within this one sacrament there are the three sacramental orders of diaconate, priesthood and episcopate (bishop), each administered separately, with successively higher sacramental powers.
Deacons are ordained to a ministry of service, and in communion with the bishops and priests they serve in the liturgy, in proclaiming the word and in works of charity.
Priests are ordained with the power to celebrate the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, give absolution to penitents, administer the sacraments, preach and teach the word of God, and fulfill the pastoral responsibilities given to them by their lawful superiors.
Bishops receive the fullness of the priesthood, and are successors to the Apostles, and they alone have the sacramental power to ordain others. A bishop has the individual responsibility to care for the particular church which may have been put under his charge, and the bishops together have the collegial responsibility to care for the universal Church.
Franciscan Friars Vocations Office: 1-800-424-9955
Archdiocese of St Paul and Minneapolis
Vocations Office: 651-952-6890