Holy Orders is the Sacrament through which men receive from God the grace to perform the sacred duties Christ entrusted to His Church. The Twelve Apostles were the first priests and bishops of the Church. Through the ages men have been ordained as bishops and priests by the laying on of hands to continue the mission of Christ and His Church.
In the early Church, the order of Deacon was created to assist the priest in the mission and service to the Christian community. (Acts 6:2-6) Today, deacons help the priest at the celebration of Mass, the baptism of children, the witnessing of marriage, and the celebration of funerals. They are ordained to serve and care for the needs of the Church's faithful as well as the poor, the sick, and marginalized of the world. The permanent diaconate is often comprised of married men. Through a call from God and affirmed by the local bishop these men assist in parishes.
In the Latin Rite, a man who becomes a priest must be unmarried. He is to promise a life of chastity and obedience to the Church and his local bishop. His call comes from God and is affirmed through his bishop. By the laying on of hands the man becomes a priest who acts in the Person of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of sins, anointing of the sick, the celebration of the Holy Eucharist and all the other Sacraments.