Session 5: Exploring Church Vocations - Part 2: Ordained Ministries

1. define ordination as the act of recognizing and blessing men to care for God's people in a special way
2. list the bishop, priest and deacon as three ordained ministries in the Church
3. name saints that were bishops, priests and deacons
4. discuss the role of the bishop, priest and deacon in the Church
5. list three special ways the bishop, priest and deacon glorify God and help others

Useful Texts for Leader Reflection/Preparation:
Life of Saint Athanasius (attached)
Life of St. John of Kronstadt (attached)
Life of St. Stephen the Martyr (attached)

Scriptural References . . .
About the Bishop/Priest
1 Tim 3: 1-7; 4: 12-5:2, 6:11-12
2 Tim 4: 1-5
Titus 1:5-9
1 Pet 5:1-9

About the Deacon
1 Tim 5: 3-10
Acts 6: 1- 7

Handout on the ordained ministries (attached)

A: Younger Children (Objectives 2, 4 & 5)
Presentation: God's Appointed Helpers.
Have participants name everyone they would call "God's Helpers." List all responses on a piece of newsprint or poster board that you can display somewhere in the room.
After all ideas are exhausted ask them to pick out the three special "helpers" that God blesses to lead His people. [Bishop, Priest, Deacon] Point out bishops, priests, and deacons that they personally know. Ask them how they think these people help God.
If you want you can have them draw pictures of bishops, priests, and deacons and make a collage called "God's Appointed Helpers." You can even include people such as the Metropolitan or Patriarchs.

Discussion: Question and Answer period with their priest. FOR ALL AGE GROUPS!
Ask a priest to come in during the middle of the class to talk with the students about his vocation in the Church. Discuss with the participants ahead of time what questions they would want to ask a priest and write them down. When the priest arrives and after he has given his short presentation on his vocation, give him the written questions for him to answer. Be sure to allow for new questions while the priest is answering the written questions. [Ex. Why did he become a priest?, What's his favorite part of being a priest?, What's his least favorite part of being a priest?, What does he think is the most important aspect of being a priest?, etc..]

Activity: Build your own Bishop, Priest and Deacon.
(The book is available from Light and Life Publications.)
Have each participant choose an ordained vocation they want to study. Using the materials in the book have the participants "make their own . . ." and determine some of the things that make each ordained ministry unique (what they wear, what they do, can they be married, how they serve others, etc.)

B: Pre-teens (Objectives 2, 3, 4, 5)
Presentation: The Ordained Ministries
This activity is preparation for the discussion with the priest.
Ask participants who are the people that are ordained in the Church? [bishop, priest, deacon] Why do they think these people are ordained?

Ask "What do you think the priest does?" As participants give their answers emphasize that the priest is the leader of the community.
Ask, "Would you want to be a priest? Why or why not?"
Hand out small pieces of paper. Tell them that a priest is coming to talk to you about the priesthood and other ordained ministries. Have participants right out one question on their piece of paper that they would like the priest to answer.


Activity: Saintly Screenplays.
You will need enough paper and drawing materials for each participant, and sticky putty to put their "scenes" on the wall. Depending on the number of participants, you will either want to split participants up into three groups giving each group one of the enclosed lives of saints, or you will want to choose one of the saints and read his life to them.
Tell participants "Touchstone Pictures has hired us to write some screenplays on some saints for their next upcoming smash hit. After reading the life of the saint draw one scene from their life as you would see it on the screen. When everyone is done arrange the scenes in order on the wall (use the sticky putty). Choose one person who will plug the story to the movie executives. They will have to tell the executives what the movie is about, and why they should make the movie." If you have more than one group assign each group a wall to use for their screenplay.

C: Teens (1, 2, 4, & 5)
Presentation: Clergy Want-Ads.
Split participants into three groups. Using the scriptural references above, the enclosed handout on ordained ministries, as well as what they know about bishops, priests, and deacons, have each group draft a want-ad for either a bishop, priest, or deacon. Remind participants that first they will need to identify what skills, abilities, training, experience are required.


Activity: Some Role Models
Divide the participants into three groups. Give each group one of the enclosed lives of the saints. Tell them that their group is to read the life of the saint, revise the want-ad they drafted, and list how these people could be role models for us.

Teen Journal Reflection. Write a letter to a friend who told you he thinks that God is calling him to be a priest or deacon. What would you say? How would you encourage him? What would you warn him about?

Session Conclusion
When Jesus established His Church He wanted to make sure that it would continue "unto the end of the world" For this reason he appointed certain men to lead His people in continuing His work in the world. He chose the apostles who then appointed bishops, priests, and deacons to be special leaders in the Church. They are a gift from God to maintain Christ's presence in the Church. Saint Ignatius in the early part of the second century reminds us of the importance of these men when he tells us "You must all follow your bishop, as Jesus Christ followed the Father, and follow the priests as the apostles, and pay respect to the deacons, as to God's commandments."