vocations at a glance
"Deacons receive the imposition of hands 'not for the priesthood but for the ministry.' For, strengthened by sacramental grace, they are dedicated to the people of God, in communion with the bishop and his presbyterate, in the service of the liturgy, of the word and of charity."
Permanent deacons share in the Sacrament of Orders with the Bishop and priests. While the word "bishop" means overseer, and priest means "to offer sacrifice," the word deacon means "to serve." In the time of the apostles, deacons helped with the needs of the most vulnerable in the community. Today, deacons act as ministers of the Word, preaching, and teaching in the name of the Church. As ministers of Sacrament, deacons baptize, lead the faithful in prayer, witness marriages, and conduct wake and funeral services.
For more information on the Permanent Diaconate in the Archdiocese of Toronto, visit their website.
“It takes three to make love, not two: you, your spouse, and God. Without God people only succeed in bringing out the worst in one another. Lovers who have nothing else to do but love each other soon find there is nothing else. Without a central loyalty, life is unfinished.”
–Bishop Fulton Sheen
The Sacrament of Marriage is a lasting commitment of a man and a woman to a lifelong partnership, established for the good of each other and their children. While most sacraments are conferred by a priest or bishop, marriage is unique in that the man and woman confer the sacrament upon each other when they express their consent to marry before God and the Church.
For more information about the Sacrament of Marriage in the Archdiocese of Toronto, click here.
consecrated religious life
"I want you to be free from anxieties. The unmarried man is anxious about the affairs of the Lord, how to please the Lord; but the married man is anxious about the affairs of the world, how to please his wife, and his interests are divided. And the unmarried woman and the virgin are anxious about the affairs of the Lord, so that they may be holy in body and spirit; but the married woman is anxious about the affairs of the world, how to please her husband."
-1 Corinthians 7:32-34
For a list of religious communities in the Archdiocese of Toronto, click here.
Consecrated religious life is a vocation born from both scripture and tradition, patterned after Jesus' life of giving himself completely to His Father and the Church. To follow Christ intimately without the distractions of the world, religious brothers, sisters, and priests live the evangelical counsels of poverty, chastity and obedience. These vows help them to live simply, be more fully given to God, and depend totally on Him.
Each religious community receives a special charism (a spiritual gift) from God that allows the community to serve the Church in a specific way: some are called to evangelize, educate, provide for the corporal needs of the suffering, engage in healing ministries, offer hospitality...and many more possibilities exist. The Holy Spirit shows to receptive souls what the needs are. Each gift of the Spirit forms part of the Body of Christ, bringing the Church to an ever greater expression of Christ's perfect love for us.
Although most people will be single at some point in their lives, some are called to a formal life of consecration to God in a lifelong commitment to celibacy while remaining a single lay person. This vocation allows an individual to respond to God's call in a very nimble way. While the primary commitment of a married person is to his or her family, and the primary commitment of a religious is to his or her community, the consecrated single can act on a moment's notice, responding to God's call whenever and however He prompts them.
“All consecrated members of the Church are called to live in the world just like the Church herself and participate in the joy, the hopes, the sadness and anxieties of today’s humanity, especially of the poorest. For each consecrated, every lived-out experience becomes an opportunity to contribute to the renewal of society according to the Gospel spirit.”
–Archbishop José Carballo,
Secretary for the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life
For information about the Order of
Consecrated Virgins in the Archdiocese of Toronto, click here.