Priestly Promises

At his ordination, a priest makes four specific promises, each of which entails certain sacrifices. These promises help him to live in a more Christ-like manner, for his own sanctification and to become an example to the people he serves.

Celibacy

Priests in the Roman Rite promise to be celibate, willingly sacrificing the natural gifts of marriage and children.   Read more about celibacy.

In the Rite of Ordination to the Diaconate (for those who embrace the celibate state), the Bishop asks the candidates, “Do you resolve to keep for ever this commitment as a sign of your dedication to Christ the Lord for the sake of the Kingdom of Heaven, in the service of God and man?” And the candidates respond, “I Do”

Simplicity

Priests promise to live simply, giving up lucrative careers and possessions, and instead focusing on serving God’s people.

Obedience

Priests promise to obey the bishop and his successors, sacrificing their self-determination. They do this for the good of the local Church, moving to where the bishop assigns them.

In the Rite of Ordination to the Priesthood, the Bishop asks the candidates, “Do you promise respect and obedience to me and my successors?” and the candidates respond, “I do.”

Prayer

Priest promise to pray the Liturgy of the Hours at certain times of the day, sacrificing their time to spend time with the Lord.

In the Rite of Ordination to the Diaconate, as preparation for the Priesthood, the Bishop asks the candidates, “Do you resolve to maintain and deepen the spirit of prayer that is proper to your way of life and, in keeping with this spirit and what is required of you, to celebrate faithfully the Liturgy of the Hours with and for the People of God and indeed for the whole world?” And they respond, “I do.”

In the Rite of Ordination to the Priesthood, they take further promises to minister the sacraments, and to preach the word. The Bishop asks:

“Do you resolve to exercise the ministry of the word worthily and wisely, preaching the Gospel and teaching the Catholic faith?”  

“Do you resolve to celebrate faithfully and reverently, in accord with the Church’s tradition, the mysteries of Christ, especially the Sacrifice of the Eucharist and the Sacrament of Reconciliation, for the glory of Go and the sanctification of the Christian people?” 

“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?”

and

“Do you resolve to be united more closely every day to Christ the High Priest, who offered himself for us to the Father as a pure Sacrifice, and with him to consecrate yourselves to God for the salvation of all?”

And the candidates respond, “I do.”