In the Sacrament of Holy Orders, Jesus bestows a permanent charism or grace of the Holy Spirit on the ordained man which enables him to minister to and guide those who believe, to proclaim and explain the Gospel, and to lead and sanctify the people of God. Jesus bestows this grace through the action of the laying on of hands by the bishop.
Before Jesus ascended into Heaven, He instructed the Apostles to continue the work which He began to shepherd His flock (cf. Matthew 28:18–20).
Jesus commissioned His Apostles to preach the Good News, the Gospel of the New Covenant, to every nation, because He desired His Kingdom, the Church, to include all people. St. Paul says, “And his gifts were that some should be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, some pastors and teachers, for the equipment of the saints, for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ” (Ephesians 4:11–12).
The successors of the Apostles carry on Christ’s priestly work as mediators between God and man. They bring the mercy and grace of God to the people of the New Covenant and, in return, offer man’s praise to God. It is Jesus Christ the High Priest Who is present, acting in and through them when they perform their priestly functions.