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37. The Distinction of Orders: The Character

1. "As in one body we have many members, but all themembers have not the same office" (Rom. 12:4), so in theChurch there are various orders appointed to their respectivesacred offices.

2. The distinction of orders is derived basically fromtheir varyingreference to the Holy Eucharist. There is: (a)the priest, who offers the Eucharistic Sacrifice; (b) thedeacon, who assists the priest; (c) thesubdeacon, who assists the priest and deacon and attendsthe sacred vessels of the Eucharistic sacrifice; (d) theacolyte, who proffers the matter (bread and wine) for thesacrifice; (e) the exorcist, who expels evil spirits whichrender a person unworthy to receive the Holy Eucharist; (f) thelector or reader, who imparts sacred instruction to thosewho come to Mass and Communion; (g) the porter ordoorkeeper, who attends the bells and portals, and welcomes thefaithful to the sacrifice and excludes those who should not beadmitted.

3. These seven orders are classified as majororders and minor orders. The major orders are three:subdeaconship, deaconship, priesthood. Deaconship and priesthoodbelong to the sacrament of holy orders. The bishop's office,the episcopate, is the fullness of priesthood. The minor ordersare: doorkeeper, lector, exorcist, acolyte.

4. Each of the orders has its proper acts and manyincidental functions. These, as we have noted, are all directed insome manner to the divine center and core of our religion-our Lordhimself in the Holy Eucharist.

5. The character impressed upon the soul by thesacrament of orders is given when the sacrament is conferred.

"As the flesh is nourished by food, so is man supported by prayers"
St Augustine

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"Spiritual persons ought to be equally ready to experience sweetness and consolation in the things of God, or to suffer and keep their ground in drynesses of spirit and devotion, and for as long as God pleases, without their making any complaint about it."
St Philip Neri

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"We must not be behind time in doing good; for death will not be behind his time. "
St Phillip Neri

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