Holy Orders

Ordination is recognition by the Church that a person has been called to ministry as a specific way of life.


A Calling from God to Follow and to Serve as His Christ's Disciples.

Ordained ministry is an exciting and big commitment. It requires thought and prayer as you prepare.

The ordination process begins and ends with a leader called by God to the Gospel ministry. It also involves the recognition of this call by the local church where the leader is serving. But the Converge family of churches and church leaders are also involved in advising the church and in serving the ordination candidate.

Holy Orders

Through the sacrament of holy orders, or ordination, a man vows to lead other Catholics by bringing them the sacraments, especially the Eucharist. He promises to do this by proclaiming the Gospel and by providing to Catholics other means to achieve holiness. In order to be ordained a priest, a man must be first ordained a deacon.


In Catholicism, holy orders is the sacrament by which men are ordained as priests or deacons. It is a sacrament carried out by a bishop, who must lay his hands on the candidate. Taking holy orders is a commitment for life both to God and to the Catholic Church, as the man is given certain powers, including passing on God’s forgiveness of sins.

Holy Orders differs from other sacraments as it has three separate stages. It can only be given by a man who has himself undertaken all three rites and has therefore become a bishop. The three stages of Holy Orders:

  • Being ordained a deacon – a deacon may baptise, preach and distribute Holy Communion (but not to transubstantiate it).
  • Being ordained a priest – a priest is believed to have the power to change bread and wine into the Body and Blood of Christ (transubstantiation) and to forgive sins.
  • Being ordained a bishop – only a bishop has the complete fullness of the priesthood, with the power to confirm and to ordain deacons, priests and other bishops through the sacrament of Holy Orders.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is ordination?

Ordination is the sacramental ceremony in which a man becomes a deacon, priest, or bishop and enabled to minister in Christ's name and that of the Church. There are three ordinations in the Sacrament of Holy Orders: diaconate; priesthood; and episcopal.

When does the ordination actually take place?
Who can ordain a priest?
What is the meaning of the laying on of hands?
Why does the ordinand lie prostrate during the ordination?
What is the meaning of the newly ordained priest receiving the stole and the chasuble?
What does the anointing of the hands signify?
Why does the ordaining bishop hand the ordinand a chalice and paten?
How does one prepare for ordination to the priesthood?
Do priests take vows?