What is it?

"It is the living Church which the priest shepherds in his parish or in the mission entrusted to him. That mission brings him joy... as long as he stands firm amid the flock which the Lord has entrusted to him.” 

Priesthood is about people – helping people to encounter Christ in their lives so that they may come to know him and experience the joy which he brings to their lives. A priest isn’t simply a sacrament dispensing machine – priesthood is about much more than this. While the priest is of course a minister of the sacraments he can only be effective in what he does if he can build a relationship with those he meets so that, with his help they can in turn build their own relationship with Christ. In order to do this though, a priest needs to know his people – meeting them where they’re at in their faith but not leaving them there. As Pope Francis put it: “For us priests, what happens in the lives of our people is not like a news bulletin: we know our people, we sense what is going on in their hearts.”