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 | By Douglas Culp

Encountering Jesus in Holy Orders


The sacrament of holy orders has three degrees: the episcopate, the presbyterate, and the diaconate. The episcopate and presbyterate both participate in the priesthood of Christ.


Episcopal ordination represents the fullness of the sacrament of holy orders. Those receiving this ordination are bishops and are successors to the apostles.

Priests belong to the presbyterate. They are ordained to be co-workers of the bishops and an extension of their ministry.

Finally, the diaconate is intended to help and serve these two other degrees.

Source: Catechism of the Catholic Church (1554-1570)