7 Quotes That Reveal the Meaning of the Priesthood

Father Walter Carreiro at the altar with the Chalice

The Catholic priesthood is a unique vocation not only within the Church, but also among other religious preachers and ministers. A Catholic priest receives Holy Orders, which is a sacrament, meaning that he receives special graces to fulfill his ministry. According to the Catechism of the Catholic Church, this does not mean that a priest is better or more holy than other people, but rather, that the office of priest “depends entirely on Christ and on his unique priesthood; it has been instituted for the good of men and the communion of the Church.”

In his ministerial role, the priest acts in persona Christi Capitis, or in the person of Christ the Head. This is what gives him the power to celebrate the Eucharist and administer the sacraments. The essential services that priests carry out are what keep the Church alive. Below are 7 quotes that reveal just how important the priesthood is:

  1. “The end for which God has instituted the priesthood has been to appoint on earth public persons to watch over the honor of his divine majesty, and to procure the salvation of souls.” – St. Alphonsus Liguori
  2. “He made them, the vicars of his love.” – St. Ambrose
  3. “What tongue, human or angelic, may ever describe a power so immeasurable as that exercised by the simplest priest in Mass? Who could ever have imagined that the voice of man, which by nature hath not the power even to raise a straw from the ground, should obtain through grace a power so stupendous as to bring from Heaven to earth the Son of God?” – St. Leonard of Port Maurice
  4. “O my child, bethink you that just as the bee, having gathered heaven's dew and earth's sweetest juices from amid the flowers, carries it to her hive; so the Priest, having taken the Saviour, God's Own Son, Who came down from Heaven, the Son of Mary, Who sprang up as earth's choicest flower, from the Altar, feeds you with that Bread of Sweetness and of all delight.” – St. Francis de Sales
  5. “The priesthood is the love of the heart of Jesus. When you see a priest, think of our Lord Jesus Christ.” – St. John Vianney, patron saint of parish priests
  6. “For when you see the Lord sacrificed, and laid upon the altar, and the priest standing and praying over the victim, and all the worshippers empurpled with that precious blood, can you then think that you are still among men, and standing upon the earth? Are you not, on the contrary, straightway translated to Heaven, and casting out every carnal thought from the soul, do you not with disembodied spirit and pure reason contemplate the things which are in Heaven?” – St. John Chrysostom
  7. “People who say that we priests are lonely are either lying or have got it all wrong. We are far less lonely than anyone else, for we can count on the constant company of the Lord, with whom we should be conversing without interruption. We are in love with Love, with the Author of Love!" – St. Josemaria Escriva

We invite you to join us in praying this prayer from the USCCB for priests:

Gracious and loving God, we thank your for the gift of our priests.
Through them, we experience your presence in the sacraments.

Help our priests to be strong in their vocation.
Set their souls on fire with love for your people.

Grant them the wisdom, understanding, and strength they need to follow in the footsteps of Jesus.
Inspire them with the vision of your Kingdom.

Give them the words they need to spread the Gospel.
Allow them to experience joy in their ministry.

Help them to become instruments of your divine grace.

We ask this through Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns as our Eternal Priest.



7 Quotes That Reveal the Meaning of the Priesthood