Vocation: What is it?
At the outset, ALL are called to live their baptism, working for their growth and that of others. In the context on this site, it is the call from God to further serve as a Priest, Deacon, Monk or Nun.
Introduction and Welcome
Initially, the vocation or call is from God Himself. A person may feel that he or she is receiving a message, a direction, an invitation, a challenge to come and follow the Lord. If this is felt, the person should try to answer that call as much inasmuch as he or she is able at the time. If God has planted the seed at the outset, both the person and others around should not run from or discourage a response to this call. We welcome the opportunity to walk together with you. God and those persons assigned to assist in that call will help the person continue the discerning (understanding/perceiving) of a potential call. Other areas of this site, (in construction presently), may be helpful in one’s personal discernment journey also.
The great Church Father, St. John Chrysostom (+407AD), Archbishop of Constantinople, while still a layman, grappled with the meaning of the office of the priesthood. At that time, he was avoiding ordination; yet at the very same time, he wrote his great work On the Priesthood
, which has been a Christian classic ever since. From generation to generation, faithful Christian men have been called to fulfill the office of ministerial priesthood; they have done so with the assistance of the Holy Spirit, even if they have resisted the idea initially as St. John Chrysostom did.
What then are the duties of a priest?
First, according to Chrysostom, the priest is to lead the worship of the community and administer the sacramental mysteries. To implement this in our world today, the contemporary priest must realize that the Church (Grk: ekklesia
, congregation) is most itself when gathered together to praise, glorify, supplicate and thank its Savior, Christ God. The parish priest has the great honor to lead this worship and the responsibility to see that “all the faithful be led to that full, conscious and active participation that is demanded by the nature of the Liturgy”
(Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy, 14). More good, or harm, can be done by the Sunday Liturgy than any other parochial activity. It is important to note that the priest is leading the entire congregation in its worship. It is not “his Mass” or anyone else’s. Rather, the Liturgy, more properly called, is the common work of the entire body of Christ, clergy and laity of all ranks.
On any typical Sunday
A Melkite priest will, before the Divine Liturgy, serve Orthros (Morning Prayer) and be available for the sacramental mystery (sacrament) of Repentance (Reconciliation/Forgiveness). After the Divine Liturgy, the priest will often serve at memorial services, bless icons, travelers, cars, mothers and their newborn babes. Most marriages and baptisms are also celebrated on the Lord’s Day (Kyriake
), although they are not limited to this particular day.
Other areas of ministry
The parish priest is frequently called upon to visit the sick, anoint them with holy oil and bring Holy Communion to them and the shut-ins; sometimes, during the visit, he will bless the home as well. There are Baptisms, Chrismations, Communion, anointings, engagements, marriages and the preparations that go along with them, Confessions, counseling, family issues, parish life events and ministries and a myriad of other areas of involvement. At the time of a death, he once again gathers the congregation and leads them as they bid farewell to one of their members. Whether he is married or not, the priest becomes a member of every family in his parish and ideally is treated as such.