- About Vocation
- The Priesthood
- Consecrated Life
- Married Life
- Single Life
- Contact Us
Third Orders – Following a rule of life without taking Solemn vows
Do you feel attracted to a religious order’s way of life but do not feel called to solemnly join the order? Do you want to share your journey through life with like-minded people? Perhaps a third order is an option. Third Orders are lay members of religious orders who follow the the rules for the order and undertake their charism. Any Catholic can join a third order, but you can only be a member of one and you cannot leave without grave reason.
The Code of Canon Law describes third orders as:
“Associations whose members share in the spirit of some religious institute while in secular life, lead an apostolic life, and strive for Christian perfection under the higher direction of the same institute are called third orders or some other appropriate name.” (Can. 303)
Examples of third orders in the U.K. include the Third Order of Our Lady of Mount Carmel (Carmelites), Lay Dominicans and the Franciscan Third Order.
If you have an questions about membership of a particular third order, we would encourage you to directly contact your nearest religious house associated with the order in question.