Holy Orders

“Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord.  May it be done to me according to your word.” (Luke 1:38)

“He said to them, ‘The harvest is abundant but the laborers are few; so ask the master of the harvest to send out laborers for his harvest.’” (Luke 10:2)

Holy Orders – Bishops, Priests and Deacons

There is a special office of those who are set aside to sanctify, bless, teach, and guide the Church, continuing the role of the Apostles to make the Lord Jesus Christ present throughout the ages and to the corners of the world:

“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.”  (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1536).

There are often questions about the ordination of women to the Holy Priesthood.  This question was definitively addressed by the late Pope Saint John Paul II in his Apostolic Letter Ordinatio Sacerdotalis (On Reserving Priestly Ordination To Men Alone), in which he concluded:

“Wherefore, in order that all doubt may be removed regarding a matter of great importance, a matter which pertains to the Church’s divine constitution itself, in virtue of my ministry of confirming the brethren (cf. Lk 22:32) I declare that the Church has no authority whatsoever to confer priestly ordination on women and that this judgment is to be definitively held by all the Church’s faithful.” (OS, 4)

All of the faithful are strongly encouraged to read this august document, which is quite short by Pope St. John Paul II standards, as it wonderfully explains the reasons behind this teaching of Holy Church.  This document cites another document by Pope Paul VI, Inter Insigniores, which is linked here for your convenience.

Religious Life – Consecrated Men and Women

What is “Consecrated Life”?

To be “Consecrated” means to be set apart for a special purpose. It refers to a state to which men and women take public vows of the Evangelical Counsels (poverty, chastity, and obedience), ordinarily within the context of a religious community such as a monastery, convent, or friary. By taking these vows, religious men and women strive to follow the counsels of the Lord Jesus in a more perfect way.

Religious vocations to the priesthood or to the consecrated religious life are gifts from our Heavenly Father by which He calls a man or a woman to follow His Son in a unique way.  Do not be afraid to open your heart to the possibility that God is calling you to such a vocation.

Always feel welcome to contact a priest through the parish office if you would like to speak to someone about a possible vocation to the priesthood or to the religious life.  We are ready to help you along the journey of the discernment of your vocation.

The Diocese of Arlington has a Vocations Office that can assist men and women who would like to inquire about a possible vocation. The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops also has resources and information on the discernment to the priesthood or religious life for men here and for women here.

May the Holy Spirit, through the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary, instruct and guide you to answer Jesus’ call to follow Him as His friend and disciple according to the vocation for which YOU were created.


St. Lawrence Catholic Church
6222 Franconia Road
Alexandria, VA, 22310
View Directions

(703) 971-4378
(703) 971-0331
Email the Office

©2017 St. Lawrence Catholic Church