“Holy Orders is the sacrament through which the mission entrusted by Christ to his apostles continues to be exercised in the Church until the end of time: thus it is the sacrament of apostolic ministry. It includes three degrees: episcopate, presbyterate, and diaconate” (CCC 1536).
“The Lord Jesus chose men (viri) to form the college of the twelve apostles, and the apostles did the same when they chose collaborators to succeed them in their ministry…. The Church recognizes herself to be bound by this choice made by the Lord himself” (CCC 1577).
For more information about discerning a call from God to either a young man or a mature man to the priesthood, diaconate, or religious life, please speak with a priest and visit the Diocese of Charleston’s Vocations Web site.
The Lord Jesus also calls young women and mature women to dedicate their life to Him in the consecrated life. See, for example, the Catechism 914-45 and the Diocese of Charleston’s Vocations Web site.