Christian Vocation

  • The role of lay people
  • Lay minister of priesthood of the believer
  • The holy orders and the role of a deacon
  • The role of the priest
  • Issues 1: celibacy
  • Issue 2:The ordination of women
  • What is vocation to Christians to a religious life
  • Examples of religious life
  • Created by: Richa
  • Created on: 16-05-11 20:17

Christian Vocation Introduction

Vocation: Doing something for the love of it. A feeling that God is calling someone to a special ministry.

Talents: Qualities, attributes or abilities which in a christian belief are gifts from God.

People who have had a calling: Old testament- Abraham and Moses. He repeatedly calls Israel, his people to come back to him. He also called the disciples to follow him.

Parable of the talents: It suggest that people should make use of the gifts they have been given to live responsibly. It also suggest we must not be lazy, we should make the most of ourselves and lives.

Responding to Gods call:  Laity, sacrament of holy ordes, religious orders.

1 of 9

The role and vocation of lay people

Lay people: Members of the Church who are not in holy orders (Non nuns, priests) 

Lay people have responsibilities such as:

  • To live their live according to christian teachings
  • Bringing faith into orginial human life
  • To form a community that is recognised as the people of God

Lay people play an important part in many aspects in the church life and also inform how they live their lives at home and in public.

Give examples on how lay people live their life eg. TEACH, WITNESS and LEAD

2 of 9

Lay ministry and the Priesthood of the believer

Lay Ministry: A role of service within the church such as a reader or Eucharist minister.To serve the kingdom of Christ all over the world. (Catechism 863)

To witness:Being a christian should show all aspects of life.

  • Parents are called to work for a happy and loving christian family at home
  • Supporting worships: Serves at church, eucharistic ministers and ministers of the word (readers)

To teach: Involved in developing peoples faith.

  • Preach the gospel to everyone (non catholics too)
  • Support children/adults in the journey eg. holy communion, confirmation

To lead: Lay people are called to participate in various minisitries in the service of the community including.

  • Participating in parish councils
  • Taking communion to the sick
  • Helping the finance of the parish
3 of 9

Holy Orders & The role of a Deacon

Apostles: The leaders of the early Church. It literally means sent out.

Priesthood: The roles and duties of a priest, central to this is saying mass.

Deacon: A minister who may lead some services such as baptism.

The sacrament of holy orders are made up three different roles:

Bishops are the head of the church and have responsibilities for the priests and the deacons. Priests work with the bishop to preach the gospel celebrating mass and to care for the faithful in his parish. Deacons supports the priest in the caring role of the parish with some other same duties.

The role of a deacon: A deacan can have a full time employment outside the church and he may be single or married. There are three main parts to the work of a deacon.

1. Liturgy- he may be alongside baptisms, weddings, funerals and lead people in prayer.

2. The word- he may read the gospel and preach to others.

3. Charity- he serves the needs of the people, especially the poor.

4 of 9

The role of a priest

Pastoral: Comes from the word shepherd and is to describe the care that is given for example by the priest to those in his parish.

The role of a priest is to "preach the gospel, to shepherd the faithful and to celebrate the divine worship" (Lumen Gentium 28). A priest can be described in four ways:

  • A disciple- Someone who has heard Jesus to call to follow him.
  • An apostle- In that he is sent out to serve others
  • A presbyter- Someone who has a duty to support and care for a group of people
  • One who presides- He leads, gathers them together for and gives absolution

Duties of a priest: Concencrates the bread and wine, conducts funerals, proclaims the word, visits the sick, offering absolution, worship, leading the parish council.

To be a priest is NOT to be someone that is better than other christians, it is a particular of service, to which some are called and are able to perform the duties

5 of 9

Issues 1: Celibacy

Celibacy: The requirement to resist from sexual relationships, part of the vows taken by people entering religious life.  This means they do not take a wife or partner and do not have sexual relations.


  • It is following the example of Christ who did not marry
  • It is easier to remain focused on Christ
  • Marriage and family life is demanding and time consuming
  • Priests often need to travel, this would be difficult for parenthood


  • The men Jesus chose to be his disciples are married
  • A priest who experiences the challenges of family life may be better to understand and support people with family problems
  • Celibacy is not a normal situation for all men. Some may be called for priesthood and for marriage.
  • There's a great shortage of priests in some parts of the church.
6 of 9

The ordination of women

Women cannot become priests in a Catholic church.


  • Christ only annointed men as apostles
  • There are other ways women can serve God
  • A long tradition that only men can be ordained (become priests)


  • The church has changed other long standing traditions eg. the liturgy read in a different language
  • Some women feel they are called to be priests, the church should allow them to answer that call
  • If God made everyone in his image, then surely any human can represent Christ at the altar.
7 of 9

What is a vocation to the religious life?

Religious life: Dedicating life to God, taking vows and living in a particular Holy way.

Poverty: Living simply and sharing talents, money, goods for the support of the community.

Chastity: Making a vow not to take a wife, husband or partner and not to have sexual relationships. (Celibacy)

Obedience: Obeying the person in charge of the religious order eg. the priest.

Some people are called to consecrate their lives to Christ, this means they promise to give their life in the service of God.

The religious life is a calling to live like Jesus in poverty, chastity and obedience.

Men and women living a religious life need to publicly pronounce the vows listed above.

8 of 9

Examples of religious life

Contemplative: In the way of chrisitan vocation, this applies to those who choose to live out their vocation in structured prayer, meditation and work. (The nuns that are trapped in a church- self reflection)

  • Centered around prayer
  • Stay within the community house

Apostolic: Religious communities which combine a life of prayer with a life working in the world for example in education. (Sister Margret- educates others)

  • Have a life of prayer
  • Actively involved outside their monastries, covenants or house.
  • Involved in different works of the church eg education, health care.
9 of 9


No comments have yet been made

Similar Religious Studies resources:

See all Religious Studies resources »