2 Timothy 1:6

6 For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands. 

 

 

The sacrament of Holy Orders has  three degrees.

 

First there are the Bishops

 Bishops receive the fullness of the sacrament.  They act in the name and person of Christ and is the Shepherd and Spouse of the Church.  The symbols are the mitre and the crozier, signifying his role as Shepherd, and the ring,  illustrating that he is the Spouse of the Church, and his chair showing his teaching authority in the Church.

 

Second are the Priests

Priests are anointed with the Spirit and act in the name and person of Christ.  The symbols are the paten and the chalice which illustrates their fulfillment  of their ministry especially at Eucharist.  Priests are responsible for preaching the Gospel, celebrating liturgy and  teaching and guiding the faithful.

 

Third are the Deacons

Deacons are ordained to the ministry of service.  He is involved as the ordinary minister at the Altar, along with works of charity and the breaking of the Word of God.  A deacon may be married or a bachelor.  Deacons are symbolized by the stole worn over the left shoulder.

 

1572  given the importance that the ordination of a bishop, a priest or a deacon has for the life of the particular church, its celebration calls for as many of the faithful as possible to take part.  it should take place preferably on Sunday, in the cathedral, with solemnity appropriate to the occasion.  all three ordinations, of the bishop, of the priest, and of the deacon, follow the same movement.  their proper place is within the Eucharist liturgy.

(excerpts taken from the Catechism of the Catholic Church; copyright © 1994 Concacan Inc., Canada)

The essential rite of ordination is the laying of hands  and the consecratory prayer performed by a Bishop.