Permanent diaconate

‘Since the Second Vatican Council the Latin church has restored the diaconate as a proper and permanent rank of the hierarchy.’

CCC 1571

Does your parish have one? Are they a good idea? Have you ever met one? Ever felt called to this ministry? Should women be admitted to this ministry? Any deacons with any thoughts on their ministry?

Would be interested in your thoughts…:slight_smile:

There is only 1 permanent deacon in our whole diocesis. If the Holy Spirit calls them is a good idea. They certainly beat EME any day of the week.

Sorry, what’s EME?

An American term?

The Permanent Diaconate is alive and thriving in our archdiocese. My husband was ordained last October 4 (feast of St. Francis) with 11 other men. There are 13 to be ordained this year. Currently our archdiocese has 144 permanent deacons. I’m very proud of my hubby.

With regard to EMEs, it stands for “Extraordinary Ministers of the Eucharist,” but that term is no longer appropriate. As the only ministers of the Eucharist are the priests (Deacons are the ordinary ministers of the Cup), the Church is trying to distance the laity from that terminology. The proper term in the US is “Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion,” or EMHC.

Are you called to the Diaconate? It took a long time for my husband to listen and follow the vocation, but it has been an incredible grace in our lives.

No, our parish does not have any permanent deacons. However, our diocese does have two.

Yes, I believe permanent deacons are a good idea because God’s Church instituted it.

Yes, I’ve met deacons. Holy men, on fire for the Lord. For example, Deacon Dr. Bob McDonald.

I don’t know if I am called to this ministry vocation. I am discerning.

No, women should not be permited to be deacons. Once the Church allowed for deaconesses as we use to baptize converts naked. But today that is no longer the form and thus not necessary. Deacons and Priests are men as Christ is male.

Incidentally, I think it would be a fascinating study/book on the “Deacons of the Church” and how they affected things. For example, if it were not for the fortitude and tenacious stick-to-it-ness of Athanasius (or the other two deacons who are sometimes cited as its author) would we have the Creed we profess at Sunday Mass? (according to Jurgens “Faith of the Early Fathers” St. Athanasius was a deacon at that time)

St. Lawrence the Deacon, pray for us!

Yes, we have a permanent deacon in our parish he is able to take some of the load off the priest such as funerals, baptisms and an occasional homily. He also is hispanic and is able to do a lot home visits within that community.

It’s possible in the future. I am a teacher and the pastoral role is the main reason I changed career to this vocation. I am studying for a Catholic Education certificate so enjoy the study / theology side of it.

However I am 32, so too young and by the grace of god my wife will have our first child in November. I am under no illusion that the first few years of parenting are very demanding. I intend to remain open to the idea and see what happens.

How does your husband fit his deacon duties round his home and work life? - or is he a full time deacon?

“Deaconesses” were holy women, but they were never ordained by the laying on of hands. I’m sure that the earlier writings that contained that term were for lack of a better explanation.

Personally, I can’t imagine a woman desiring to be a deacon or priest. I know they’re out there, but it has never been our vocation, and it will **never **change.

We have two permanent deacons, both married. One of the wives used to be DRE, and they also handled RCIA together. Both deacons preach and officiate at all weddings and funerals, unless a Mass is specifically requested. Since most weddings here are convalidations or involve dispensation from form, nuptial Masses are the exception. Our pastor has an extremely time consuming position in the diocese, so without the deacons we would be bereft. They are both holy men with Proverbs 31 wives and beautiful families. They handle all marriage preparation and record keeping (we use engaged encounter, sponsor couples and convalidation conferences also). One deacon is recently retired due to health reasons, but still does weddings and funerals, trains and supervises altar servers, and is the RCIA catechist and liturgist. The other deacon is employed as facilities manager, dealilng with buildings and grounds, including the school. He also runs St. Vincent de Paul which means he functions as a social worker. He disburses the very generous budget the parish designates for food, shelter, medications, clothing, medical and utility bills and other emergency needs for all the poor within the parish boundaries. He is also active in national and state organizations for deacons.

There are about 100 permanent deacons in the diocese, most at or near retirement age. The diaconate formation was suspended when we got a new bishop about 6 years ago, due to some abuses and disregard of orthodoxy, but is being restored. We have two deacons who are outstanding retreat masters and highly sought after.

Does your parish have one?

Yes.

Are they a good idea?

I think so. However many Deacons do not really perform the true ministry for which they were Ordained. Sometimes it is because Pastors fear offending certain “Lay Ministers” if they were to give their duties over to one of the Deacons. If you have a Deacon it is he who should be visiting the shut-ins and Homebound after Mass on Sunday. Not a Lay EMHC. It is the Deacons who should be visiting the Hosptial one or twice a week. It is the Deacon who should be teachng on a regular basis in RCIA, Adult FF or Baptism Class, but in many parishes they don’t.

Have you ever met one?

I know nine Deacons

Ever felt called to this ministry?

I have done many of the traditional duties of a Deacon because they did not. I’m not one for large group speaking so Homilies don’t really appeal to me.

Should women be admitted to this ministry?

They can’t be. That has already been settled.

Any deacons with any thoughts on their ministry?

Sue,

You write:

“Deaconesses” were holy women, but they were never ordained by the laying on of hands. I’m sure that the earlier writings that contained that term were for lack of a better explanation.

Actually, it appears that they had a type of ordination with the laying on of hands as found in both the Apostolic Constitutions and the Didascalia Apostolorum. This “ordination” would correspond to the “ordination” to the minor orders found in the Latin Church prior to the Second Vatican Council. That is, it was not a sacramental ordination but it was a setting apart.

Here’s the way it is phrased in the Apostolic Constitutions:

Concerning a deaconess, I, Bartholomew enjoin O Bishop, thou shalt lay thy hands upon her with all the Presbytery and the Deacons and the Deaconesses and thou shalt say: Eternal God, the Father of Our Lord Jesus Christ, the creator of man and woman, that didst fill with the Spirit Mary and Deborah, and Anna and Huldah, that didst not disdain that thine only begotten Son should be born of a woman; Thou that in the tabernacle of witness and in the temple didst appoint women guardians of thy holy gates: Do thou now look on this thy handmaid, who is appointed unto the office of a Deaconess and grant unto her the Holy Spirit, and cleanse her from all pollution of the flesh and of the spirit, that she may worthily accomplish the work committed unto her, to thy glory and the praise of thy Christ.

(emphasis mine).
Deacon Ed

[quote=JGC]It’s possible in the future. I am a teacher and the pastoral role is the main reason I changed career to this vocation. I am studying for a Catholic Education certificate so enjoy the study / theology side of it.

However I am 32, so too young and by the grace of god my wife will have our first child in November. I am under no illusion that the first few years of parenting are very demanding. I intend to remain open to the idea and see what happens.

How does your husband fit his deacon duties round his home and work life? - or is he a full time deacon?
[/quote]

Like Detriot Sue my husband is also a deacon he has been ordained for three years. He is the only deacon in our parish, but we have another man who is discerning whether or not he should enter the program. We have 77 permanent deacons and 7 more to be ordained in September.
My husband originally wanted to be a deacon in the diocese of Cleveland, however, when we were living there our children were young and so he decided to wait until they were older to pursue it. Most of the men in the program had children who were either teens or out of the house. Our children are now 21 and 18 and my husband is not sorry he waited until later to pursue becoming a deacon, they grow up so fast (really) and he is glad he had those years to spend with them. If you have family close by, it is probably easier to do it with young children.
My husband has a full time job as a chemist (a subject that he once mentioned in a homily that he found fascinating and fun that caused much chuckling in the congregation). His job has flex time which allows him to leave at 10:30 once a month for staff meeting and make up the time later during the day. He uses his lunch hour to help a blind priest be able to say Mass and then eats his lunch on the way home. I assist him with some aspects of his ministry such as campus ministry,marriage preparation, baptism preparation, and I serve as his server at weddings and baptisms. Our children have had to make a few adjustments, primarily if they need help with chemistry (our oldest is a biochemistry major) to ask when he comes home in case he has to do other things. He finds time to still do the chores that need to be done around the house.
Just my :twocents:

I’ve been considering the diacnate for about a year now. Still am trying to discern my calling. I would be very interested in hearing from other considering the diaconate or a deacon. What lead you to the diaconate? How has the decision impacted your life? (both positively or negatively) What guidance would you give someone trying to discern this calling in their life?

Thanks and God Bless

I am the grown daughter of a perm. deacon. My dad was ordained 24 years ago. He has worked in several parishes with several ministries (Seperated, Divorced & Widowed support group, young married couples, bapteimal seminars, marriage prep, wakes, spiritual direction) & has worked on a archdiocesan level ( teaching homeletics, spiritual formation for incoming deacons, setting up marriage enrichment programs throughout the area). He currently is a full time assistant to a pastor of a parish that has over 3000 families. I think it will only be a matter of time before there are parishes with full time perm. deacons and part time priests. At present there are probably 2 or 3 perm deacons in every parish here and some parishes have 1 priest or a priest between 2 parishes. I have known many perm deacons ( many different gifts) who sacrafice alot to give to their ministries.

I was looking into the permament diaconate, only to find out that it has been discontinued in my diocese. The Diocese of Arlington does not accept anymore candidates for the diaconate according to the representative from the diocese that I spoke with.

Yes, I must admit that I was shocked.

Mark,

Most of the deacons in our diocese had been active in parish ministry for years before Ordination. I was involved in hospital ministry, prison ministry, bringing Communion to rest homes, CCD teaching, leading prayers for a rosary group Etc. From these ministeries, I felt the Spirit calling me to Ordination. Also, the call came from my parish community that I had served for many years.

I would strongly urge anyone who might consider the Permanent Diaconate to involve themselves in outreach ministries for their local parish. This is the way to discern if this is for you. Much prayer on the part of you and your family will also help.

God bless,
Deacon Tony SFO

Here’s a question I’ve been wondering about while all these deacons are chiming in:

Since Vatican II there have been a lot of mixed marriages between Catholics and non-Catholic Christians. One of the requirements for candidates to the diaconate says, approximately, that the wife and children of a married candidate must also be upstanding Christians, but does not specifically say Catholic. Can a man married to a non-Catholic Christian still become a deacon, or would this be an irregularity?

[quote=deaconswife] he decided to wait until they were older to pursue it. Most of the men in the program had children who were either teens or out of the house. Our children are now 21 and 18 and my husband is not sorry he waited until later to pursue becoming a deacon, they grow up so fast (really) and he is glad he had those years to spend with them.
[/quote]

Thanks for your detailed thoughts.

I have a gut feeling I will do it, it will just be when my child(ren) are older.

:thumbsup:

[quote=Andreas Hofer]Here’s a question I’ve been wondering about while all these deacons are chiming in:

Since Vatican II there have been a lot of mixed marriages between Catholics and non-Catholic Christians. One of the requirements for candidates to the diaconate says, approximately, that the wife and children of a married candidate must also be upstanding Christians, but does not specifically say Catholic. Can a man married to a non-Catholic Christian still become a deacon, or would this be an irregularity?
[/quote]

The fact that the wife is not Catholic is not a factor in preventing a man from becoming a deacon, although it certainly makes it harder.

Deacon Ed

How many deacons would it be desirable to have in a parish? Would it be desirable to have two or three deacons, who for the reasons described above have their family and work duties to attend to, allowing a splitting of the load between them.

Or would having 'too many deacons ‘devalue’ the office in some way?

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