Sacrament of Holy Orders

ordination1536 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: episcopate (Bishop), presbyterate (Priest), and diaconate (Deacon).

The Priest
     The priest, “as a visible continuation and sacramental sign of Christ in his own position before the Church and the world, as the enduring and ever-new source of salvation”, finds himself inserted into the trinitarian dynamics with a particular responsibility. His identity springs from the ministerium verbi et sacra-mentorum, which is in essential relation to the mystery of salvific love of the Father (cf Jn 17:6-9. 24; 1 Cor 1:1; 2 Cor 1:1), to the priestly being of Christ, who personally chooses and calls his ministers to be with him (cf Mk 3:15), and to the gift of the Spirit (cf Jn 20:21), who communicates to the priest the necessary power for giving life to a multitude of sons of God, united in the one ecclesial body and oriented towards the Kingdom of the Father.
Sacramental Character
In priestly Ordination, the priest has received the seal of the Holy Spirit which has marked him by the sacramental character in order to always be the minister of Christ and the Church. Assured of the promise that the Consoler will abide “with him forever” (Jn 14:16-17), the priest knows that he will never lose the presence and the effective power of the Holy Spirit in order to exercise his ministry and live with charity his pastoral office as a total gift of self for the salvation of his own brothers.
Personal Communion with the Holy Spirit
It is also the Holy Spirit who by Ordination confers on the priest the prophetic task of announcing and explaining, with authority, the Word of God. Inserted in the communion of the Church with the entire priestly order, the priest will be guided by the Holy Spirit whom the Father has sent through Christ. The Holy Spirit teaches him everything and reminds him all Jesus has said to the Apostles. Therefore, the priest with the help of the Holy Spirit and the study of the Word of God in the Scriptures, with the light of Tradition and of the Magisterium,(20) discovers the richness of the Word to be proclaimed to the ecclesial community entrusted to him.
Invocation of the Holy Spirit
Through the sacramental character and the identification of his intention with that of the Church, the priest is always in communion with the Holy Spirit in the celebration of the liturgy, especially in the Holy Eucharist and the other sacraments. In fact, in each sacrament, Christ invoked by the priest who celebrates in persona Christi acts through the Holy Spirit with his efficacious power on behalf of the Church. Thus, the sacramental celebration finds its efficacy in the Word of Christ who has instituted it and in the power of the Holy Spirit which the Church invokes frequently in the epiclesis. This is particularly evident in the Eucharistic Prayer in which the priest, invoking the power of the Holy Spirit on the bread and on the wine, pronounces the words of Jesus and actualizes the mystery of the Body and of the Blood of Christ, really present through transubstantiation.
Source:  Congregation For The Clergy Directory On The Ministry And Life Of Priests
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