Holiness is not the job of the clergy. It is everybody’s calling. Bishops are called to personal holiness, called to lay down their lives for their flock. They may be called to lead their people to holiness but it is first and foremost by their example. They are first to be holy.
Priests are called to a similar role, imitating the holiness of the great priests that came before them and gave them example. I think of my home pastor, Fr. Ozimek, and his influence on me. I took my confirmation name in part because of him. One summer when it seemed that I was serving Mass a lot I walked in to the sacristy and he said, “You again!” I responded, “Yeah, I have to serve again.” He got a somewhat serious look in his face and said, “You get to serve again.” That quite inspired me and I try to remember his example in my priesthood.
Deacons and those in the lay state that the Church calls upon to help with her mission in a specific way are no less called to this holiness. Married couples give public witness to holiness in the love they are called to minister to each other and to their families. We are only as healthy as “Church” as we are first in the domestic Church. Widows and single persons are not exempt from this calling and have their unique way of growing in and exemplifying holiness particularly as they work to help others to holiness.
The sick, the poor, the infirm all share in the universal call to holiness and are not exempt. Furthermore they have much to offer for the salvation of the world.
The Church is a big place and it is more than the institution with which we often associate the word. The institution is a necessary help which cannot do without, but the call to holiness is to all.