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Written by Pope Francis, St. John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI about the Priesthood

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Diocese of Scranton
Vocations Office

300 Wyoming Avenue
Scranton, PA 18503-1279
Phone: 570-207-1452
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Scranton Vocations Blog
What Does A Priest Do?

It depends on the type of priest you are called to be. You may be called to take vows and become a Religious priest or live the promises of a Diocesan priest. Despite this distinction, all priests devote themselves to Christ's mission by leading, instructing, uniting and encouraging others to live life the way Jesus taught us. Priests also celebrate the sacraments, especially the Holy Eucharist so that we may be strengthened to live the life of faith.

A Religious priest is called to the serve God in a religious order such as the Jesuits, Dominicans or the Holy Cross Fathers. Each religious order has its own specific charism (mission) that they undertake for the service of God and the Church. For example the Jesuits who were founded by Saint Ignatius Loyola are heavily involved in Catholic education

A diocesan priest dedicates his life in the service of Christ and the people within a specific Diocese. In addition to preaching the word of God and celebrating the sacraments, he must also commit himself to a daily discipline of personal prayer. While he does not take vows, a diocesan priest promises respect and obedience to his bishop and leads a chaste, celibate life. He does this willingly as a sign of his total dedication to Christ and the Church.

Most people commonly refer to diocesan priests as a parish priest, because their ministry is usually in the service of a parish. However, a diocesan priest can also be assigned full-time to a specific ministry in the life of the Church. Many priests have one main occupation, such as teaching, social work, parish ministry, or hospital work, all of which have fairly regular hours and predictable demands. The unpredictable demands usually center around meeting people's needs—the sick, hurt, excited, angry, happy, elderly, imprisoned. It is the job of the priest to offer people understanding, advice, encouragement, and unwavering support.


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