What does a cleric do?

In the Roman Catholic tradition, a priest converts bread and water into the body and blood of Christ as part of the sacrament of communion.

A clergyman is usually an ordained member of a religious order charged with assisting in the spiritual well-being of his congregation. Clergy members are trained in the various rituals of their particular religion or sect and are called upon to perform these rites at particular functions or specific landmark events such as birth, adulthood, marriage, and death. Clergy members are often asked to teach and disseminate the basics of their religion to their congregation or the public. Many clergy are also spiritual counselors who help people with personal or social problems and offer encouragement to the sick and struggling.

In most traditions, a new member of the clergy must be ordained by a senior clergy figure.

Typically, a clergyman in the Western tradition is required to undergo training that results in his being ordained and granting him official church recognition to perform the rites and teach the precepts of the church. Most clergy are ordained by attending the seminary – a school specializing in the teachings of the church that founded it – and taking certain vows and performing rites specific to the religion or sect. In modern times, many clergy also earn degrees in psychology, mental health, or counseling as part of the ordination process.

In some cases, a deacon is a member of the clergy who has been ordained.

After a clergy is ordained, he is usually assigned to a specific congregation so that he can meet the needs of its members. In most Western religious traditions, clergy perform the ceremonies and rites related to the spiritual life of the congregation. Depending on the denomination, some of these ceremonies and rites include baptism, administration of sacraments, marriage, circumcision, confession, and funerals or last rites.

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A clergyman may offer religious counseling.

One of the primary responsibilities of a clergyman is to teach the doctrine of his church. This can come in the form of preaching from a pulpit, teaching study classes, or supervising programs that teach doctrine to children of the congregation, as in the case of Catholic catechism classes. Many Western religions believe in spreading their teachings through proselytizing or evangelism. Clergy often organize and lead the programs that churches use to spread their teachings to others.

A clergyman is usually responsible for the ceremonies and rites of a congregation.

Often, a cleric is also called upon to encourage or help those who are suffering from some illness or hardship. Clergy may minister in hospitals, nursing homes, orphanages, or prisons. In many religions, clergy oversee the church’s efforts to help provide for the material needs of the elderly or poor. Clergy help sometimes comes in the form of advice or counsel. Many clergy meet with members of their congregation to help them make decisions, overcome problems, or offer relationship counseling for marriages or parents and children.

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