By virtue of their ordination, priests are called to serve Christ by sharing in His ministry. The priest is to be a living, breathing, walking Christ for others. In the person of Christ, he is a leader of people, a shepherd to the sheep, and a father to the Christian family. The priest therefore must be a man who is configured to Christ and be able to act in the person of Christ. Through the sacrament of Holy Orders, a priest is called to publicly exercise his office in the Church by ofering sacrifice and proclaiming the Gospel in the name of Jesus Christ. The goal of priestly formation is therefore formation to "the ministerial priesthood, or more precisely, the ministerial priesthood as a participation, in the Church, in the very priesthood of Jesus Christ." (PDV n. 11).
The Life of the Diocesan Priest
The life of the Diocesan Priest is shaped by his service to the local Church. Through his ordination, he is joined to his bishop and the priests of a particular geographical area called "diocese." In the Diocese of Kansas City - St. Joseph, this geographical area includes the cities of Kansas City and St. Joseph, 27 counties of Northwest Missouri. It is here that the diocesan priest of the Diocese of Kansas City - St. Joseph works with the Bishop and with his brother priests in fulfilling the threefold ministry of Christ, preaching the Gospel, sanctifying souls through the Sacraments, and leading the Church through service.
The diocesan priest is celibate, yet he stands at the heart of the parish family. The celibate life style reminds him that his deepest meaning and fulfillment is found in hisrelationship with the Lord and in his freedom to serve Christ's people. The diocesan priest therefore must be a man of prayer, study, and action. He is called to reflect deeply on the Scriptures and Catholic tradition, to study current theology, and to act as the designated leader of the liturgical prayer of the parish community.