Holy Orders & Religious Life
"So you also, when you have done all that is commanded you, say, `We are unworthy servants; we have only done what was our duty.'"-Luke 17:10
Holy Orders - Priesthood and Permanent Diaconate
“Holy Orders is the sacrament through which the mission entrusted by Christ to his apostles continues to be exercised in the Church until the end of time: thus it is the sacrament of apostolic ministry. It includes three degrees: episcopate, presbyterate, and diaconate” (CCC #1536). A man who feels that he is being called by God to serve the Church as a priest or deacon, should seek to respond to this calling.
“The Religious state is thus one way of experiencing a ‘more intimate’ consecration, rooted in Baptism, and dedicated totally to God. In the consecrated life, Christ’s faithful, moved by the Holy Spirit, propose to follow Christ more nearly, to give themselves to God who is loved above all and, pursuing the perfection of charity in the service of the Kingdom, to signify and proclaim in the Church the glory of the world to come” (CCC #916).
A vocation to the Consecrated life takes three main forms:
Religious Life: Priests, Brothers or Sisters in Communities that embrace the spirituality, the charism, and the teachings of the Community’s founder call their way of life Religious life. Members of these Communities take vows of poverty, celibate chastity, and obedience.
Secular Institutes: Single or married lay men and women, and also some priests, belong to secular institutes. They make a commitment to live the “evangelical counsels” of poverty, chastity, and obedience. Members do not necessarily live together as a Community. Their goal is to be a transforming Christ-like presence in society.
Consecrated Virgins: The consecrated virgin living in the world embodies a definitive vocation in itself. She is not a quasi-Religious, nor is she in a vocation that is in the process of becoming a Religious Institute or Congregation. Nevertheless, she is a consecrated person, with her bishop as her guide. By virtue of the consecration, she is responsible to pray for her diocese and clergy. The consecrated virgin living in the world, as expressed in Canon 604, is irrevocably "consecrated to God, mystically espoused to Christ and dedicated to the service of the Church, when the diocesan bishop consecrates [her] according to the approved liturgical rite."
Discerning a Possible Vocation
Any man interested in becoming a priest, a brother or deacon, or any woman interested in religious life as a sister, should speak to a priest of the parishes or the Baton Rouge Vocations Office. They can assist in a search for the most appropriate religious community in which to serve.
Diocese of Baton Rouge - Office of VocationsP. O. Box 2028, Baton Rouge, LA 70821-20281800 South Acadian Thruway, Baton Rouge, LA 70808-1998225-336-8778 or firstname.lastname@example.org