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Holy Orders


Holy Orders is the sacrament of ministry through which the mission which Christ entrusted to his Apostles continues to be exercised in the Church. It has three degrees or orders: deacon, priest, and bishop. Bishops and Priests serve the People through teaching, presiding at worship, and pastoral governance. Deacons assist in the ministry of the word, divine worship, pastoral governance, and the service of charity.


What is required to be a priest? The Archdiocese of Dubuque vocations website describes a priest as “a dedicated Catholic who cherishes the fullness of the Catholic Tradition; who is enthusiastic about the current reality of the Church; who embraces with loyalty the institutional Church; who is open to the changes in the future Church; and who appreciates his relationship to the universal Church. He is also a spiritual person who seeks to grow closer to God by imitating Jesus Christ and being open to the Spirit; who values spiritual growth through prayer, study, and continuing education; who develops his spiritual life through daily prayer and retreats; who meets with a spiritual director on a regular basis; and who celebrates throughout the liturgical year with a worshiping assembly. He is a leader among leaders who inspires others to serve through leadership; who shares leadership with all members of the Church; who values the efforts of volunteers; who exercises authority with concern for others and who willingly speaks on behalf of the Church. Finally, a priest is a healthy person who enjoys good physical health, is emotionally stable and mature, has a sense of flexibility about his life, and possesses a basic confidence in himself and trust in God.”


The website also notes that “Within the Christian community the deacon is particularly called to a ministry of service and presence. The deacon is to call others to shared responsibility and shared ministry. He is further called to facilitate the ministry of others so that the priests are freed for the presidential and sacramental role that is theirs alone. He accomplishes this through his ministry of service, whether it be a ministry of charity, the Word or the liturgy.”


Interested in the priesthood or the permanent diaconate? Contact the Vocations Office or the Office of Permanent Diaconate of the Archdiocese of Dubuque.



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