United with the bishop in the care of souls within a geographical area, a diocesan priest is ordained to proclaim God's word and administer the Sacraments. By the grace of his ordination, he is able to make Christ truly present in the Eucharist, the center of his life and ministry. A diocesan priest, in reality, serves as an extension of the Bishop, who is the chief shepherd of the people in his diocese. So he shares in the responsibility in bringing God's healing presence through the Sacraments of Reconciliation and Anointing of the Sick, witnesses marriages and presides over funerals. A diocesan priest commits himself to a celibate life, with respect and obedience to the Bishop, conforming himself to the image of Christ in self-donation for the life of the Church.
The Roman Catholic Diocese of Raleigh includes fifty-four counties of eastern North Carolina, covering just over 32,000 miles. The diocese is divided into eight deaneries with a total of ninety-six parishes, missions and stations, and seven centers for campus ministry. Registered Catholics number 188,000 and comprise 4.6% of the total population. This figure may not include all the many persons who have come to the diocese from Mexico and Central and South America. Ninety-five percent of our Catholic population was not born in North Carolina. In the past 15 years, more Spanish-speaking people have settled in North Carolina than in any other state in the Union.