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What Do Priests Do?

Priests do far more than celebrate Mass and pray all day. The life of a priest is busy, demanding, challenging—and incredibly rewarding.

There are many specialized ministries such as being a chaplain, working at the archdiocesan offices, or teaching in a seminary. But the majority of priests serve in parishes.

The vast majority of priests live happy, fulfilling lives. They love the people they serve, and in turn, are loved by their parishioners. Priests are traditionally seen as fulfilling the biblical role of priest, prophet, and king.


Priests instruct others about the faith.


Priests guide, unite, and encourage their parishioners.


Priests administer the sacraments and encourage holiness.

Priests’ duties include:

  • Celebrate Mass and preach the Gospel
  • Lead a parish of Catholic Christians
  • Bring new members into the Church through Baptism
  • Hear Confessions and provide spiritual direction
  • Help teens and young adults come to know Christ
  • Prepare couples for marriage and counsel married couples
  • Teach people how to pray
  • Feed the poor, visit prisons, and advocate for justice
  • Counsel people going through difficult times
  • Visit the sick in hospitals and anoint them for healing
  • Perform funerals and bury the dead
  • Manage the temporal affairs of the parish
  • Pray daily for the People of God

Next: Why Celibacy?