Holy Orders

The Sacrament of Holy Orders "is the sacrament through which the mission entrusted by Christ to his apostles continues to be exercised in the Church until the end of time: thus it is the sacrament of apostolic ministry. It includes three degrees" — the orders of bishop, priest, and deacon. (Catechism, 1536)

Holy Orders can only be administered by a bishop. Only a bishop has the power to ordain priests. An ordinary priest cannot pass his power on to another. Holy Orders are not received all at once and are given by degrees, by three successive stages; deaconship, priesthood, and bishopric. These are the three stages in the sacrament of Holy Orders as it was instituted by Christ.

  • For the deacon it is the right to baptize, to preach, and to administer Holy Communion.
  • For the priest it is the power to change bread and wine into the Body and Blood of Christ and to forgive sins.
  • For the bishop, who alone has the complete fullness of the priesthood, it is the power to confirm and to ordain—to pass the power of the priesthood on to others in the sacrament of Holy Orders.

Then, besides the increase in sanctifying grace and the priestly character with its accompanying power, there is the special sacramental grace which gives to the one ordained a claim upon God for whatever actual graces he may need in the faithful discharge of his office.

To learn more about this sacrament, please visit the Diocese of Rockville Centre site, Long Island Priest.

St. Martin of Tours
220 Central Avenue · Bethpage, NY 11714 · 516-931-0818