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In 2018, there was a total of approximately 37,000 priests in the United States. This included diocesan, religious-order, and newly ordained priests.

The Christian priesthood goes back to the second century. It developed when the first bishops and elders began to perform a few priestly functions, mainly the celebration of the Eucharist. It led to the bishops eventually becoming priests.

The spread of Christianity led to the expansion of priest duties. Parish churches became established across the world and parish priests started to lead church services. Some of their additional responsibilities included administering the sacraments.

Priests also became the main representative of God to the people. Parishioners started to view priests as having spiritual qualities and powers.

Qualities of Priest

The main role of a priest is to share the Word of God with others. This is with an aim to either strengthening the faith of their members or encouraging others to become a member of the Church.

Possessing certain qualities will help them to successfully do this:

  • Love for the Church and its teachings
  • Ability to work well with others
  • Compassion in serving others
  • Respect
  • Openness
  • Sociable
  • Desire to learn and teach
  • A personal relationship with God through prayer
  • Generosity

These traits can assist priests in encouraging others to learn more about the Church and its teachings.

Priest Duties

To teach the gospel, priests first have to study the Bible and the teachings of the Church.

They must also make time to study the scripture on their own. Doing this assists them in teaching the Gospel through preaching and leading by example.

Administering Sacraments

Catholic priests administer seven sacraments. They include baptism, confession, holy communion, marriage, holy orders, and anointing of the sick. The Archibishop administers the sacrament of Confirmation with assistance from the priest.

Priests in other Christian faiths also ordain candidates into the priesthood.

Guide Church Members

Priests guide their church members to ensure their spiritual needs are being met.  They often visit members of the church who cannot attend services.

Keeping the Faith Accountable

The qualities of priests help members of the church feel welcome. No matter what the age of a parishioner, it is usually easy for them to trust and confide in their priest.

Over the years priests have been accused of abuse. By 2002, the Catholic church spent over a billion dollars in jury awards, settlements and, legal fees.

It is important to not condemn all priests due to the behavior of a few. However, you should know what you can do if you ever feel a line has been crossed.

Knowing Your Church

The church has a long, rich history. Its teachings have provided a solid foundation for many of its members. It is important to remember priest duties and their role in guiding you to a more faith-filled life.

Let the teachings of the church guide you when the actions of its members go against these teachings. It is this faith that teaches you to stand up when you see something isn’t right.

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