Diocesan priests promise to be celibate, preach the truth, and obey the bishop.
Unlike priests who are members of a religious community, diocesan priests do not take vows of chastity, poverty and obedience. However, they do make several promises on their ordination day that are similar in scope.
1Assist the Bishop’s Mission
Do you resolve, with the help of the Holy Spirit, to discharge without fail the office of priesthood in the presbyteral rank, as worthy fellow workers with the Order of Bishops for the Lord’s flock?
Bishops are the primary shepherds in a particular region. Priests are meant to be co-workers, who assist the bishop in their pastoral mission.
2Preach the Truth of the Catholic Faith
Do you resolve to exercise the ministry of the word worthily wisely, preaching the Gospel and teaching the Catholic faith?
Priests are entrusted with the task of preaching the Catholic faith to their flock, handing on to them the heritage of the Gospel.
3Celebrate the Liturgy Reverently
Do you resolve to celebrate faithfully and reverently, accord with Church’s tradition, the mysteries of Christ, especially the sacrifice of the Eucharist and the sacrament of Reconciliation, for the glory of God and the sanctification of the Christian people?
This is a promise to abide by the Church’s directives for the liturgy and to celebrate them with great reverence and respect.
In the presence of God and his Church, are you resolved, as a sign of your interior dedication to Christ, to remain celibate for the sake of the kingdom and in lifelong service to God and mankind?
This promise is made at a priest’s diaconate ordination, but applies to the rest of his life as a priest.
5Pray without ceasing
Do you resolve to implore with us God’s mercy upon the people entrusted to your care by observing the command to pray without ceasing?
This reminds the priest of his commitment to prayer, first mentioned at his diaconate ordination, where he promised to pray the Liturgy of the Hours on a daily basis.
6Imitate Jesus Christ
Do you resolve to be united more closely every day to Christ High Priest, who offered himself for us to the as a pure sacrifice, and with him to consecrate yourselves to God for the salvation of all?
This is a weighty promise, urging the priest to imitate Jesus Christ and consecrate his entire life to him.
7Obey his Bishop
Do you promise respect and obedience to me and my successors?
This is the final promise a priest makes, and it is done more solemnly than the others. The priest kneels before the bishop and places his hands between the bishop’s hands. It is a physical reminder and pledge to obey the bishop and his successors.