The Catholic Priesthood
“Priests are given the grace by God to be the ministers of Jesus Christ among the nations, fulfilling the sacred task of the Gospel…” - Presbyterorum Ordinis, 2
Priests are called to a life of humble service to God through the Church. This vocation is both seen in the diocesan priesthood and religious life. They are both vocations coming from God and the Church needs both diocesan priests and religious men and women in carrying out her mission to give witness to Jesus in the world.
The vocation to the diocesan priesthood is open only for men. Diocesan priests exercise their ministry in a certain diocese under the guidance of the diocesan bishop. Most diocesan priests are assigned in a parish where they administer the celebration of sacraments for the people of God. Diocesan priests are sometimes called secular priests because their pastoral work consists in providing spiritual nourishment to people who live in the contemporary world.
The vocation to the religious life is open for both men and women. Religious women are usually called sisters or nuns. Religious men can either be a priest or a religious brother. Religious men and women live in their own religious community and exercise their ministry under the guidance of their religious superior. There is a wide variety of religious congregations in the Church. Each of them has a unique spirituality and mission determined by their founder or foundress.
For those discerning their vocation, it is a matter of determining where God is calling you to serve. It is a matter of choosing the path where you would be most happy and generous in serving God through the Church.