"I am the good shepherd, and I know mine and mine know me, just as the Father knows me and I know the Father; and I will lay down my life for the sheep." (John 10:14-15)
Christ is the Great High Priest who offered Himself in sacrifice on Calvary for the forgiveness of sin. Those who receive the sacrament of Holy Orders share in this great ministry of Christ and are called to preach the Word of God, offer the Eucharistic Sacrifice and shepherd the people of God by witnessing to a holy life. Christ is the source of all priesthood.
The Catechism of the Catholic Church informs us that "the priest, by virtue of the Sacrament of Holy Orders, acts in persona Christi Capitis (In the person of Christ the Head). During his public ministry, Christ called the twelve and kept them at His side, imparting to them His teachings by word and example and eventually He sent them on mission to all mankind. "Go therefore", He told them, "and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them on the Name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, to the close of the age." (Matthew 28:18-20)
"In the Church and on behalf of the Church, priests are a sacramental representation of Jesus Christ-the Head and Shepherd-authoritatively proclaiming His word, repeating His acts of forgiveness and His Offer of salvation particularly in Baptism, Penance and the Eucharist, showing His loving concern to the point of a total gift of self for the flock, which they gather into unity and lead to the Father through Christ and in the Spirit. In a word, priests exist and act in order to proclaim the Gospel to the world and to build up the Church in the name and person of Christ the Head and Shepherd." (Pastores Dabo Vobis Pope John Paul II, March 25, 1992)
For information about vocations to the priesthood or religious life, speak to any of our priests or deacons or contact the Office of Vocations, 732-562-1990 ext. 2453 or www.diometuchen.org.