"A Welcoming Community of Faith Rooted in the Catholic Tradition"



of the
Evangelical Catholic Church

Holy Orders


264. What is Holy Orders?

Holy Orders is the sacrament through which men and women receive the power and grace to perform the sacred duties of bishops, priests, and other ministers of the Church.

For every high priest taken from among men is appointed for men in the things pertaining to God, that he may offer gifts and sacrifices for sins. (Hebrews 5:1)

265. What are some of the requirements that a candidate may receive Holy Orders worthily?

That a candidate may receive Holy Orders worthily it is necessary:

  1. that they be in the state of grace and be of excellent character;

  2. that they have the prescribed age and learning;

  3. that they have the intention of devoting his life to the sacred ministry;

  4. that they be called to Holy Orders by their bishop.

If anyone is eager for the office of bishops, he desires a good work. A bishop then, must be blameless, married but once, reserved, prudent, of good conduct, hospitable, a teacher, not a drinker or a brawler, but moderate, not quarrelsome, not avaricious. (I Timothy 3:1-3)

266. What is meant essentially by a vocation to the priesthood?

By a vocation to the priesthood is meant essentially that invitation to receive Holy Orders given by the proper ecclesiastical superior to a person who, after a sufficient period of preparation and trial, gives signs that they has been called by God to the priesthood.

267.  What are the chief signs that a person has been called by God to the priesthood?

The chief signs that a person has been called by God to the priesthood are: a sincere desire to become a priest, a virtuous life, and sufficient bodily health and intellectual ability to enable them to make the required studies and to perform the duties of the priestly life.

268. Do religious brothers and sisters receive the sacrament of Holy Orders?

No; religious brothers and sisters do not receive the sacrament of Holy Orders, but they have received from God a vocation to dedicate their lives to His service.

269.   What are the effects of ordination to the priesthood?

The effects of ordination to the priesthood are: first, an increase of sanctifying grace; second, sacramental grace, through which the priest has God's constant help in their sacred ministry; third, a character, lasting forever, which is a special sharing in the priesthood of Christ and which gives the priest special supernatural powers.

Thou art a priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek. (Psalm 109:4)

270.   What are the chief supernatural powers of the priest?

The chief supernatural powers of the priest are: to change bread and wine into the body and blood of Christ in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, and to forgive sins in the sacrament of Penance.

Receive the Holy Ghost; whose sins you shall forgive, they are forgiven them; and whose sins you shall retain, they are retained. (John 20:22-23)

280.   Why should one show respect to the priest?

We should show respect to the priest because they are the representatives of Christ Himself and the dispensers of His mysteries.

With all thy soul fear the Lord, and reverence his priests. (Ecclesiastics 7:31)

281.   Who is the minister of the sacrament of Holy Orders?

The bishop is the minister of the sacrament of Holy Orders.