THE SACRAMENT OF MARRIAGE CELEBRATES THE LOVE AND FRIENDSHIP BETWEEN A MAN AND A WOMAN.
The sacrament gives the couple the grace to grow into a union of heart and soul, to provide stability for themselves and their children. Children are the fruit and bond of a marriage.
The bond of marriage between a man and a woman lasts all the days of their lives, and the form of the rite consists of the mutual exchange of vows by a couple.
The bond is compared to God's undying love for Israel in the Old Testament, and Christ's love for his Church in the New Testament.
The importance of marriage is substantiated by the presence of Christ at the wedding feast of Cana, where he began his public ministry at the request of his mother Mary by performing his first miracle.
HOLY ORDERS IS THE SACRAMENT THROUGH WHICH THE MISSION ENTRUSTED BY JESUS TO HIS APOSTLES CONTINUES TO BE EXERCISED IN THE CHURCH TO THE END OF TIME. THIS HOLY VOCATION PROVIDES THE CHURCH WITH PRIESTS FOR THE FAITHFUL.
A priest is ordained to act in the person of Jesus Christ in three principle ways:
1. He teaches – the priests’ first duty is the proclamation of the Gospel of God to all.
2. He makes holy – priests unite their people to God by the administration of the sacraments, especially the celebration of the Eucharist.
3. He governs – imitating Christ, priests lead those in their care to a deeper understanding of their own vocation and so build up a true Christian community.
There are special preparation programmes for men seeking to become priests. To find out more about that programme, please visit the website of Holy Cross Seminary.
To speak with the Auckland diocesan Vocations Director about your vocation to the priesthood, call Fr Robert O'Brien, who is based at Our Lady of Sacred Heart, Epsom Parish (09) 630-3956.