‘He got up from table, removed his outer garment and, taking a towel, wrapped it round his waist; he then poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples’ feet … “You call me Master and Lord, and rightly; so I am. If I, then, the Lord and Master, have washed your feet, you should wash each other’s feet”’ (John 13:3-15).
St John Vianney called the priesthood, ‘The love of the heart of Jesus’. A Catholic Priest is a man, a member of the Faithful, who is called by God and set apart to serve and minister to the whole Church as a spiritual father.
Through the Sacrament of Holy Orders, a priest acts in persona Christi capitas – in the person of Christ, the head of the Church. As such, the priest offers the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass as well as ministering or assisting at the other Sacraments.
Diocesan priests are called to serve in many and various ways. Most commonly, they serve in parishes, ministering to God’s people in local churches and the various pastoral ministries that parishes contain such as schools and nursing homes. Some diocesan priests are asked to serve in other ways such as chaplains to hospitals, universities and prisons.
Being people of prayer, priests continue to say yes to God’s will in their lives, and daily take up the work of bringing God to people and people to God.
Priestly formation for diocesan seminarians from the Archdioceses of Melbourne, Hobart and Adelaide, as well as the Dioceses of Ballarat, Sale, Sandhurst and Darwin takes place at Corpus Christi College in Carlton. Priestly formation is organised around four key components: human, spiritual, academic and pastoral formation. Those discerning priesthood often feel a sense of it being God's will that they become a priest. This quiet, "persistent nagging", or "tug in the heart" can be discerned further in the seminary.