What Does a Priest Do?
Priests are with people during the most dramatic moments of their lives – births, wedding engagements, and deaths. They teach wisdom and dogma, and perform religious rituals and rites.
In many cultures, priests must live a life of celibacy and asceticism. They are a source of spiritual guidance and a comfort for the souls of their community.
The priest must preach, announcing God’s word and urging his people to listen and obey. This is the chief work of all priests.
It demands all the spiritual, emotional, and mental energies of a priest. He must approach the proclamation of Scripture prayerfully, pleading for divine power to endow his words with life and effectiveness.
Lloyd-Jones longed to see God’s word change men at the core of their beings, not just on a superficial behavioral level. He wanted to see the vicious become peace-loving, the proud humble, and the greedy generous. Through a powerful, Christ-centered gospel sermon, he hoped to see the dead rise to new life and the living grow in Christlikeness. He strove to preach with “gravity and gladness” so that his people might be transformed.
For more than three thousand years, Sacred Liturgy has been at the heart of Christian worship. It is a visible celebration of God’s presence in the Church, and in Christ and the world. Its goal is not to provide a certain subjective experience for the participants but to offer them a way to honor God and to enter fully into his plan of salvation.
The word “liturgy” is derived from the Greek leitourgia, which means “public service.” In Christian tradition, it refers to divine worship and active charity.
The liturgy begins with the greeting, Kyrie eleison, and Scripture readings. Then the celebrant explains the Scripture readings in the homily. Following the homily, the congregation recites the Nicene Creed or the Apostles’ Creed. The Church then celebrates Communion.
The ordained priesthood and the vowed religious priesthood are lifelong commitments. It is a life of service to people at the most important moments of their lives – from baptisms and first Holy Communions to the Sacraments of Healing and Reconciliation.
Mourners often treasure the memories shared at a visitation and find comfort in knowing that their loved one is not forgotten. Mourners who turn away or choose not to attend a visitation can only add to the sense of emptiness and isolation that comes with death.
A cleric is a member of a religious community and serves as chaplain or pastor (Latin: parochial vicar) in a parish. A cleric may serve anywhere in the world where his community operates. He also takes on pastoral responsibilities for the members of his religious community, such as administration of church building grounds and offices.
Priests provide counseling and guidance to their flock. They help their congregants deal with issues ranging from divorce, the death of a loved one or other major life events to personal problems like drug addiction.
Becoming a priest is a years-long process that involves praying for guidance and studying. He must also fulfill the requirements of his church and denomination. This may include completing seminary and serving as a transitional deacon.
The ordained priesthood is a life of dedication and service to God and his people. It is a beautiful and uplifting life that offers many joys beyond measure. Priests are with people in some of their most significant moments, baptizing their children and celebrating their marriages. They also minister to those who are sick in hospitals and nursing homes.
Priests teach the principles and dogma of their faith. They also perform religious rituals and rites including blessing worshippers with joy at marriages, births, consecrations or reunions; and comforting mourners at funerals.
At ordination, a priest becomes In Persona Christi, wielding a sacred power referred to as sacra potestas. This is a profound change in the soul of a man, inscribed forever.
Those who serve as priests in religious communities live in community and take the vows of Poverty, Celibacy and Obedience. They may be sent to other parishes or apostolates within their religious order, or to other regions of the world. The American Pastors Network represents one of the major representative groups for the greater pastoral community and provides a large networking experience, information contacts and relevant news pieces.