Sacraments of Service
The Church continues Jesus’ mission of service through married couples and through our ordained ministers, bishops, priests, and deacons through the Sacraments of Service:
“That is why a man leaves his father and mother and clings to his wife, and the two of them become one body.”
Matrimony is one of the two sacraments of service. Married couples promise to serve each other with love and to serve the whole Church. They enter into a lifelong covenant of love. This is their vocation. They serve the Church by their love and they share in God’s creation in a special way when they give birth to children. In Matrimony, God gives a man and woman the special grace and blessings to build a Christian family together. The Church celebrates the call to love in a special way in the sacrament of Matrimony or marriage.
The Sacrament of Matrimony, whereby a man and woman are joined together in a life-long union of procreative love, is a calling from God. The creator established this purpose from the very beginning by the very manner in which He made men and women. Jesus taught that the nature of marriage itself reflects the indivisible unity of the love of God. In this way Jesus raised the natural bond of marriage to a supernatural sacrament of life and love.
Sacraments: Holy Orders
For this reason, I remind you to stir into flame the gift of God that you have through the imposition of my hands.
1 Timothy 1:6
Holy Orders is the sacrament through which the ordained ministry of bishops, priests, and deacons is conferred by the laying on of hands followed by the prayer of consecration. Our ordained ministers serve the Catholic community by:
- Preaching and teaching the good news of Jesus Christ
- Leading us in celebrating the sacraments
- Leading us in working together to build up the Christian community
- Helping us serve the poor and all those in need.
Bishops are those who have care of multiple congregations (diocese) and have the task of appointing, ordaining, and disciplining priests and deacons, and shepherding the larger Christian community. They are often called ‘evangelists’ in the New Testament. Examples of first century bishops include Timothy and Titus (1 Tim. 5:19-22, 2 Tim. 4:5, Titus 1:5).
Priests are also known as “presbyters” or “elders.” In fact, the English term “priest” is simply a contraction of the Greek word “presbuteros. They have the responsibility of teaching, governing, and performing the sacraments in a given congregation (1 Tim. 5:17, Jas. 5:14-15). Like bishops, they receive their priesthood in the one priesthood of Jesus Christ.
Deacons are the assistants of the bishops and have the task of teaching and administering certain church functions, such as the distribution of food, caring for the sick, preaching, etc. (Acts 6:1-6).