“The priests, prudent cooperators of the episcopal college
and its support and instrument, called to the service of the People
of God, constitute, together with their bishop, a unique sacerdotal
) dedicated, it is true, to a variety of distinct
duties. In each local assembly of the faithful they represent, in a
certain sense, the bishop, with whom they are associated in all trust
and generosity; in part they take upon themselves his duties and
solicitude and in their daily toils discharge them.”
exercise their ministry only in dependence on the bishop and in
communion with him. The promise of obedience they make to the
bishop at the moment of ordination and the kiss of peace from him
at the end of the ordination liturgy mean that the bishop considers
them his co-workers, his sons, his brothers and his friends, and that
they in return owe him love and obedience.
“All priests, who are constituted in the order of priesthood
by the sacrament of Order, are bound together by an intimate
sacramental brotherhood, but in a special way they form one
priestly body in the diocese to which they are attached under their
own bishop. . . .”
The unity of the presbyterium finds liturgical
expression in the custom of the presbyters’ imposing hands, after
the bishop, during the rite of ordination.
The ordination of deacon —“in order to serve”
“At a lower level of the hierarchy are to be found deacons,
who receive the imposition of hands ‘not unto the priesthood, but
unto the ministry.’”
At an ordination to the diaconate only the
bishop lays hands on the candidate, thus signifying the deacon’s
special attachment to the bishop in the tasks of his “diakonia.”
Deacons share in Christ’s mission and grace in a special
The sacrament of Holy Orders marks them with an
(“character”) which cannot be removed andwhich configures them
to Christ, who made himself the “deacon” or servant of all.
Among other tasks, it is the task of deacons to assist the bishop and
priests in the celebration of the divine mysteries, above all the
Eucharist, in the distribution of Holy Communion, in assisting at
and blessing marriages, in the proclamation of the Gospel and
28 § 2.
54 Cf. St. Hippolytus,
8: SCh 11, 58-62.
22:27; St. Polycarp,
5, 2: SCh 10, 182.