Who Is a Priest
Preacher of the Word
Preaching is a central ministry of the priest. Each homily is an opportunity for the Church to “hear with new ears” and reflect on the Scriptures, which are relevant and alive, made new so that the faithful might encounter the Risen Lord and apply His teaching to their daily lives.
Minister of the Sacraments
Priests have the tremendous responsibility and joy of making the Sacraments available to the people of God. It is a profound sign of Christ’s humility that he invites weak, fallible men to be his instruments for this ministry. Without the ministerial priesthood, the Eucharist could not be offered, the sick could not be anointed, and confessions could not be heard. When a priest baptizes a child, it is Christ baptizing. At the consecration, the priest is persona Christi. By the sacraments, Jesus himself continues to be present to us.
Example of Service
Christ came “not to be served, but to serve.” Likewise, the priest follows the Lord in his self-sacrifice and offering of himself on behalf of others. And yet it is not himself that he “gives” to the people, but the Person of Jesus Christ — through offering the sacraments, preaching the Word of God, and faithfully articulating the Church’s sacred Tradition. In humbly serving the Church in this way, the priest reveals the heart of the Lord Jesus who came to seek out to the lost, the lonely, the broken, and the poor out of love for the Father.