Vocation: Vocation means a call. It is Godís
invitation, His call to each person to love and serve
Him and His Church in a particular state or way of life.
Each person's vocation flows from the grace of Baptism.
Discernment: When talking about discovering
your vocation, discernment means the process of that
discovery through prayer, reflection and discussion as
to how God calls each person to love Him, whether as a
priest, a consecrated religious man or woman, a married
person or a consecrated single person.
Apostolate: The type of work or mission of the
order through which their particular charism is lived
Consecrated Life: A permanent state of life
recognized by the Church, entered freely in response to
the call of Christ to the perfection of love and
characterized by the making of public vows of poverty,
chastity and obedience.
Laity: People within the Church including
religious brothers and sisters as well as all other
single and married person who are not ordained as
bishop, priests or deacons are known as the laity or the
Secular Institute: Single lay men and women,
and also some priests, belong to secular institutes.
They make a commitment to live the evangelical counsels
of poverty, chastity and obedience. Members do not
necessarily live together as a community. Their goal is
to be a transforming presence in society.
Holy Orders: The Sacrament by which the mission
entrusted by Christ to His Apostles continues to be
exercised in the Church through the laying on of hands.
By receiving Holy Orders men become members of the
ordained clergy - deacons, priests and bishops. All
three confer a permanent, sacramental character on the
man who is ordained.
Permanent Deacon: A degree of the Sacrament of
Holy Orders, after bishop and priest. The permanent
deacon is ordained for ministry, but not to the
priesthood. He assists and preaches at Mass, baptizes
and presides at weddings and funerals. They have jobs
outside the Church to make a living. Men at least 35
years of age, married or single, may be ordained
Transitional Deacon: Men who are called to the
priesthood who are in the final stage of formation
before being ordained as priests. They receive the
Sacrament of Holy Orders and usually serve as deacons
for one year before ordination to the priesthood. During
their year as a deacon they continue their studies and
serve in parish assignments.
Priest: A man or woman is ordained to
priesthood through the Sacrament of Holy Orders.
Together each candidate and the Church discern
(discover) whether or not a candidate is called to
become a priest. Diocesan priests a called to serve the
people of a particular diocese. Men and Women called to
be priests in religious orders belong to communities and
in addition to receiving the Sacrament of Holy Orders
they also take vows of poverty, chastity and obedience
(the three evangelical counsels).
Religious Life: Priests, brothers or sisters
living in communities that embrace the spirituality,
charism and teachings of the communityís founder call
their way of life religious life. Members of these
communities follow Jesus through taking vows of poverty,
chastity and obedience. They grow in holiness through
their gift of themselves to God and His people.
Religious Community: The founder of a religious
community brings together a group of men or women who
share the same charism and are dedicated to the same
mission in the Church. These are religious communities
of priests and brothers and communities of sisters. The
apostolates of the communities vary according to their
mission. Those dedicated primarily to prayer are
contemplative communities; those who combine prayer with
apostolic ministries are called active communities.
Charism: Each religious community has a charism
or unique way of returning God's love to Him and His
people which manifests a particular attribute of God's
Please select a link to
begin your journey of discernment
Canon Law and Formation Policies
of the ECC
Religious Orders and Religious
Welcoming Women to
the Deaconate and Priesthood
Welcoming Back Inactive Deacon, Priests, Religious and Bishops
Sample Application for the ECC
Secular Formation Program
Saint John the