Holy Orders or Ordination gives the ordained person a sacred power in the name and authority of Christ and through the Holy Spirit, to serve the people of God.
There are three different orders or dimensions of ordination in the Catholic Church: bishop, priest and deacon.
In the Roman Catholic Church, bishops and priests are obliged to celibacy, that is, to remain unmarried. Married men may be ordained as deacons.
In the Ordination ceremony, the bishop places his hands on the head of the one being ordained and prays that God will give him the special gifts of the Holy Spirit needed to carry out his ministry.
The bishop, who has the fullest of order, has a three-fold ministry of prophet, priest and shepherd. As a prophet, the bishop speaks for God or on behalf of God. In his priestly role, the bishop has responsibility for the proper celebration of the liturgy and the sacraments in his diocese. As a shepherd, the bishop cares for all people in the diocese where he is appointed to serve, especially the poor and the suffering. The bishop's staff symbolises his role as spiritual shepherd of his flock. (More about Archdiocese of Brisbane Bishops)
A priest shares in the ministry of the bishop. The main roles of the priest are preaching, , celebrating the sacraments and leadership for building up the community of the church. The priest is called to serve his people in word and in sacrament and by leadership after the model of our Lord. (More about Archdiocese of Brisbane Priests)
A deacon is ordained to serve the church through ministry of word, worship, pastoral care and charity. A deacon may baptise, preach, officiate at marriages and funerals but cannot preside at Eucharist or give absolution. Before someone is ordained a priest, he is first ordained to the order of deacon. There are also what are called 'permanent' deacons who have been ordained and function as deacons who will not be ordained to the priesthood. (More about Deacons within the Archdiocese of Brisbane)