Sacraments are at the heart of our lives as Catholics, the way we celebrate together our continuing conversion and encounter with God. Sacramental preparation is essential if we are to experience the fullness of our life in community and in Christ. Ever conscious of the complex history of the church and its dynamic relationship to ritual, Father Lawrence Mick gives us these booklets-based on individual chapters of his popular Understanding the Sacraments Today-as a companion to the ongoing and repeated practices that nourish us.
All sacraments serve the needs of the church, but perhaps none so directly as holy orders, where individuals are consecrated to live out their baptismal vows as leaders of the church community. When entering a holy order (whether the diaconate, priesthood, or order of bishops), one joins a group dedicated to helping the faithful carry on the work of Christ. The roles of leaders within community have always adapted to meet the needs of the time, as a look at Paul's letters or any period of church history shows. Here Father Mick looks into the theology and history of holy orders, offering direction and vision for current and future practice.