Since the beginning of Christianity, the diaconate has been primarily a ministry of love and justice. As members of the clergy of the Roman Catholic Church, deacons proclaim the Gospel and preach at liturgical services; they lead the community in prayer, and conduct baptisms and witness marriages, and they address the needs of the community in an active ministry of outreach and service to others. Pope John Paul II described diaconal ministry as “. . the Church’s service sacramentalized.” Pope Paul VI offered the vision that the Permanent Diaconate is a “. . .driving force for the Church’s service.” The word “deacon” has its origin in the Greek word for “servant.”
Since the renewal of the Permanent Diaconate by the Church Fathers at Vatican II, we have come to understand that deacons have a unique expression of ordained ministry, called to “pour out their own lives in service to others.” Deacons help the Church link the two greatest commandments of Christ: “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind,” and “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” As explained by nationally-recognized author Deacon William Ditewig, the Church sees the deacon as “. . a sacramental witness to Christ within the community, and the deacon also serves as a prophetic reminder to all the baptized of their own responsibility to care for others.”
Most Permanent Deacons are married and also have family responsibilities, a consideration Council participants saw as a blessing for the Church, as deacons would be a direct presence of their sacred ministry outside the church environment. By his call to ordained ministry, a deacon is engaged in his ministry at home, at work, or wherever he is participating in activities not directly related to the church, as an example of an authentic witness and teacher of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Deacon Ditewig concludes: “It is precisely in his leadership and presence outside formal ecclesial structures, that the deacon can often enable and empower others to exercise their own . . . responsibilities as Christians.”
Favorite Thoughts . . . .
"Life is not about waiting for the storms to pass. . .it's about learning how to dance in the rain." (unknown)
"Be kinder than necessary, because everyone you meet is fighting some kind of battle." (unknown)
Deacons In Scripture
Within the letter to Timothy (3:8-10, 12-13), we read of the qualifications for men being considered for diaconal ministry in the early Church: “Deacons likewise must be serious, not double-tongued, not indulging in much wine, not greedy for money: they must hold fast to the mystery of faith with a clear conscience. And let them first be tested; then, if they prove themselves blameless, let them serve as deacons. Let deacons be married only once, and let them manage their children and their households well; for those who serve well as deacons gain a good standing for themselves and great boldness in the faith that is in Christ Jesus.”