“Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, until the end of the age.” Matthew 28:19-20

What is a priest in the Roman Catholic Church?

A priest in the Roman Catholic Church is a man, who through the divine power of the Sacrament of Holy Orders, exercises the ministry of teaching, leading worship, and pastoral leadership for the People of God. He exercises this ministry most especially through the proclamation of the Word of God and the celebration of the Sacraments.

What is a Diocesan Priest?

There are primarily two categories of priests, diocesan and religious. A diocesan priest is ordained to serve within a certain geographical area called a diocese. In our case, the Archdiocese of San Francisco which is made up of San Francisco, Marin, and San Mateo counties. The bishop is the pastor of a diocese but since a diocese is large, he ordains priests to help him carry out the work of preaching the Gospel and sanctifying the People of God. Most diocesan priests carry out this work as parish priests. Some diocesan priests also minister in special roles such as teaching or ministering to the sick and dying in hospitals.

A religious priest belongs first and foremost to a religious order like the Franciscans. As a member of his religious community, he then might be ordained to serve as a priest from his particular community. Religious priests sometimes work in parishes but their work usually has a more missionary ‘flavor’ as they possibly will serve in a varied landscape of ministries throughout their lifetime. 

How do I go about discerning?

The Office of Vocations sponsors monthly discernment gatherings that bring together men who are thinking about the priesthood. Our local seminary of St. Patrick’s also hosts an annual weekend discernment retreat that is a great opportunity for men to explore the call to the priesthood. If you would like more information on exploring the call to the priesthood, please call or send us an email. We can talk to you about discernment and pass along information on upcoming events.
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