What is a priest? What do priests do?

Why be a priest?
Everyone who wants to be true to their self is looking for meaning and fulfillment in their lives. For a Christian, the meaning of life is always connected with serving God in some way. Many people are finding meaning and happiness in their lives and are also serving God in the vocation of marriage. There are plenty of single people, who often because of their flexibility, can serve God and be happy in a number of ways. But many young men, even though they can see themselves serving God in the married or in the single vocation, nevertheless, still sense a different kind of service and lifestyle being offered to them as an ordained priest. Instead of marriage vows, vows of obedience and celibacy are given, as the priesthood is a special way of serving God’s people by being able to be both brother, and more importantly, “father” to everyone who is ministered to.

What does a priest do?
The basic work of a priest is to proclaim the Word of God. Now this can be done in a number of ways. A priest has to spend time preparing for, and then performing the Sacraments—Eucharist, Reconciliation, Baptism, Funerals, Marriages, Sacrament of the Sick. Part of each day should be set aside for prayer, especially since sharing the fruits of prayer, whether through homilies or through teachings is an important aspect of a priest’s work. A priest does a lot of visiting, whether to the sick in hospitals or nursing homes, or to families in their communities with all of the various activities involved in family life.
Working with various parish and other neighborhood organizations is also a component of a priest’s life. The diocesan priest’s main gift to his people is the ability to be available, to be able to spend time with his people. Thus, a priest will also be involved in people’s lives who have special needs or problems, such as with marriages, with drugs, with parent/child issues, with depression, or with life in general. A diocesan priest is considered to be a leader for his people in both the social and the spiritual concerns. Like anyone else, a priest should also schedule in time for exercise, rest, vacations, hobbies and other enjoyable activities.

What is a diocesan priest?
Another name for a diocesan priest is to be simply called a parish priest. The word “diocesan” comes from a Greek word meaning “to keep house.” A diocesan priest is the priest involved in the everyday lives of the people in a particular parish. A parish priest could be a pastor, the one in charge of a parish, or an associate pastor who helps the pastor with the everyday duties of running the parish, both administrative and sacramental.

What’s the difference between a religious priest and a diocesan priest?
A religious priest is a member of a particular religious order or society. A religious priest takes the vow of poverty as well as the vows of celibacy and obedience. Usually, he lives with a number of other priests or brothers of his religious community. His service to the Church can go beyond the boundaries of a parish, and he can be sent anywhere in the world that his religious community is working.
A diocesan priest on the other hand, ordinarily serves within the boundaries of the diocese for which he has been ordained. He makes a commitment directly to his bishop. He does not have to take a vow of poverty, but instead is given a salary from which he can take care of his personal needs.


Priestly Vocations

Rev. Michael DePalma
Phone: 505.892.1997
Phone: 505.831.8143
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1502 Sara Rd.
Rio Rancho, NM 87124
Rev Clement Niggel
Associate Director
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Robert Martinez
Office Manager
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Deacon Formation Program

Deacon Steve Rangel
Director of Deacons
Phone: 505.831.8246
Phone: 505.249.6416
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Deacon Mark L. Bussemeier
Director of Formation
Phone: 505.821.1571 ext. 317
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Jamie Themig
Secretary of Deacons
Phone: 505.831.8246
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Deacon Formation Associate Directors

Deacon Jim Snell
English Formation Program
Phone: 505.865.1774
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Deacon Juan Barajas
Spanish Formation Program
Phone: 505.831.8152
Fax: 505.831.8206
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Archdiocese of Santa Fe Vocation Committee

Sr. Jackie Stoll, OP
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Sr. Kay Taylor, FDCC