The Mission (as understood by the Church)
“The ministerial priesthood has the task not only of representing Christ – Head of the Church – before the assembly of the faithful, but also of acting in the name of the whole Church when presenting to God the prayer of the Church, and above all when offering the Eucharistic sacrifice.” (CCC 1552)
To serve the people of God in the person of Christ by fulfilling three offices:
- Teaching – a priest proclaims the Gospel of Christ on a daily basis and brings that Word of God into the very lives of the people he serves. As the age-old adage goes, “At all times preach the Gospel, and use words when necessary.” A priest must give witness to Christ in the words he says, the actions he carries out, and the way he presents himself to others.
- Shepherding – a priest acts in the person of Christ, and Jesus Christ was first and foremost the Good Shepherd. It is the duty of the priest to bring the people he serves to an understanding of the love of God and to a place where they can live out God’s will for them in their own lives.
- Sanctifying – a priest has the responsibility of offering the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass with the people of God and for the people of God. In the Old Testament, the priest went before the throne of God once a year to plead for the Israelites. In the New Testament, Christ goes before the throne of God once and for all, but daily, a priest brings the prayers of God’s people to the altar so that Christ might intercede on our behalf.
A priest is first and foremost called by God. He is called by God from among the people of God to offer worship, honor and praise, to God for himself and for the people of God.
A priest brings the people to God and God to the people. (from a man to the Cure d’Ars)
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