What is Holy Orders?
Holy Orders is the sacrament through which the mission entrusted by Jesus to the apostles continues to be lived in the Church today. Jesus sent the Apostles to communicate our heavenly God's will. He commissioned them to preach, baptize, forgive, heal and to proclaim the Good News "to the ends of the earth."
It is the responsibility of all the baptized and confirmed to share in the Priesthood of Jesus, to "hear the word of the Lord and to proclaim it." Some are called from the faith community, known as the General Priesthood of Christ, and are consecrated with consecrated oil and the laying on with hands into the Ministerial Priesthood of Christ. Their vocation is to represent Jesus, the one Priest and the Head of the Church, before the assembly, similar to what happens at the Sacrament of Reconciliation.
Those called to the Ministerial Priesthood of Christ also act in the name of God's people when presenting to God the prayer of the Church, especially at Mass, the celebration of the Eucharist.
Priests, Deacons and Bishops all share in the Sacrament of Holy Orders. Vatican ll said that the primary role of the priest is to preach. Deacons are ordained to serve the community. Some Deacons are transitional, and are preparing to be ordained priests. Some Deacons are permanent as they do not intend to be priests. Bishops share in the total priesthood of Jesus.