What Are the Duties of a Roman Catholic Priest?

Written by alison sperry
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What Are the Duties of a Roman Catholic Priest?
A Catholic priest has many responsibilities. (priest and bible image by Lars Christensen from Fotolia.com)

Catholic priests have a variety of duties to fulfil as spiritual leaders of their churches. Many of their duties go unseen, as a priest's duties include more than just Sunday Mass. A Roman Catholic priest's responsibilities require him to be active within the church community and to be available to provide guidance to parishioners.

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One duty of a Catholic priest is to perform the Mass. In order to be able to do this daily on weekdays, and multiple times on the weekends, a priest needs to have good public speaking skills. They also have to be able to engage their audience by giving relevant and meaningful sermons.


According to the Beginning Catholic website, there are several sacraments that someone of the Catholic faith must experience to be considered a true member of the church. Some of these sacraments include baptism, communion, confirmation and confession. Other sacraments that a priest performs are matrimony, anointing of the sick and holy orders. A priest will also perform funeral rites.

Volunteer Duties

Another duty of the priest is to serve the community. Priests frequently volunteer their time to help parishioners, and also to help those within the community. They help in soup kitchens, with clothing drives, and with other types of church fundraisers.

Spiritual Guidance

When parishioners experience the highs and lows in their life, they often turn to the priest for advice and spiritual guidance. A priest's duty is to offer advice and put into perspective the situation a parishioner may be coping with. A priest will also help their parishioners with reflection and contemplation on events that have occurred within their lives.


A priest is to have a minimum of a bachelor's degree from a seminary school. They are also expected to continue with their spiritual education through additional educational programs such as workshops and lectures. Not only are priests responsible for continuing their own education but also they are also typically responsible for coordinating religious education for children. This can be in preparation for receiving sacraments and for coordinating the curriculum of a school, if the church offers it. In addition, priests also give seminars and workshops for adults looking for spiritual education.

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