My question is, what positions may a deacon have that either is in a parish or a diocese that involve reaching out to the poor, the sick, the downtrodden etc. on a full-time basis? From what I have read, a deacon may be a full-time hospital or prison chaplain, a food pantry director, or such positions as pastoral associate or social concerns coordinator. The latter two positions, from my understanding, are positions that are a jack-of-all-trades, they deal with the poor, the sick, family life etc. Are there any deacons or other people than can give me insight on this?
In many cases, a deacon could have any job that anyone would have in these cases. If the deacon were working for a Catholic organization that provided relief services, it would be a plus for the organization.
It’s important to realize the the permanent deacon today is again in its infancy. The permanent diaconate was only recently revived by Pope Paul VI, after the Second Vatican Council. While priests often have assignments that are typical (pastor, chaplain, rector, et c.), deacons do not yet have this luxury.
Many dioceses and parishes are looking to craft new niches that fit deacons, but as a Church, we’re still figuring out where deacons fit best in this sort of ministry. This is why (unfortunately) many deacons only have liturgical ministry, and some odd jobs on the side.
I think it’s venerable to try and move the diaconate back to its origins (service) and to carve out positions for deacons there.
If anyone has any examples of where this is being done, I’d certainly like to hear about it.