“Holy Orders is the sacrament through which the mission entrusted by Christ to his apostles continues to be exercised in the Church until the end of time: thus it is the sacrament of apostolic ministry. It includes three degrees: episcopate, presbyterate, and diaconate” (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1536).
As successors to the apostles, bishops share fully in the three-fold apostolic mission given by Christ to his Church, namely that of teaching, sanctifying, and governing, and by ordination they are given the fullness of the sacrament of holy orders. A diocesan bishop is the chief pastor of a local church, or “diocese,” which normally consists of the faithful within a given geographical area. Saint Anne Church is part of the Diocese of Tulsa, which consists, roughly, of the area of Eastern Oklahoma, and which is under the pastoral care of Most Rev. David Konderla.
Priests are “co-workers” of the bishops insofar as their ministry depends upon the episcopal order for its exercise. Through the sacrament of holy orders, priests “are signed with a special character and so are configured to Christ the priest in such a way that they are able to act in the person of Christ the head” (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1563).
The primary role of the priest is to offer the sacrifice of the Holy Mass and to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ. Depending upon his state in life (for example, whether a secular or religious) and particular assignment, a priest will also engage in other areas of ministry. St. Anne Church has as its pastor the Rev. Father Matt Gerlach, a priest of the Diocese of Tulsa.
Deacons are special co-workers of the bishop in his task of “diakonia” or service, and they therefore receive the sacrament of holy orders in such a way that they are specially configured to Christ the Servant. While deacons may be assigned any number of duties for the good of the local community, as with the bishop and priest their public ministry finds its pinnacle and source of strength in the Divine Liturgy of the Church, especially in the Holy Eucharist, at which they are the prime assistants of the bishop and priests. The Catechism of the Catholic Church mentions examples of other common duties of the deacon, including “...the distribution of Holy Communion..., assisting at and blessing marriages..., the proclamation of the Gospel and preaching..., presiding over funerals..., and dedicating themselves to the various ministries of charity” (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1570). St. Anne Church is served by the Rev. Deacon Tom Moyes, Rev. Deacon Steve Creed, Rev. Deacon Kevin Marlarkey, and Rev. Deacon John Mahon, all deacons of the Diocese of Tulsa.
If you think that God may be calling you to a vocation as a deacon or priest, or if you would just like more information, the following links may be helpful!