The Deacon Is “Speakin”
What is a Deacon? Well, he is neither a glorified layman nor a “junior priest”. Neither is the diaconate a part-time job (there is no salary). The deacon is “a cleric living a lay life”. The deacon is ordained to minister “in the person of Christ the Servant.” By the grace of this sacrament, it is Christ present in him whom serves those he ministers to and, if/when everything is in good order, it is Christ whom those he ministers to encounter. The deacon’s main job is to remain close to Christ, to be in constant communication, as far as possible, with the Lord.
Ideally, the deacon loves the Church and appreciates the symmetry between Jesus’ saving mission and the work of the Church. He believes that the Church speaks authoritatively for Christ through her Scriptures, the inspired Word of God, and through her authoritative teaching in her ecumenical councils and infallible statements concerning what we are to believe and how we are to live to be happy, complete and fulfilled human beings.
A deacon believes that the Trinity works personally in the faithful through the sacraments, through His Word, through the clergy and through so many other individuals and circumstances dedicated to imitate, to please, and to glorify Him. It is the Church that saves, by the grace won for her on the Cross and can make the difference between eternity in heaven or in hell.
A deacon embarks upon a life-long journey being transformed and conformed to God’s Word. He constantly seeks to surrender his will to God’s manifest will in Scripture and Church teaching, and seeks to make his will docile and subservient to the movement and direction of the Holy Spirit within him. He finds himself a pauper in constant need of God’s multifaceted help.
After a deacon takes most of the seminary courses required of a priest and does four years of summer ministry and weekly retreats/meetings, he is finally fit with the concurrence of his spouse, the formation team and the bishop, to receive the sacrament of Holy Orders. In ordination, the deacon is given the sacramental character of Christ who made himself the “deacon” or servant of all.
The deacon is ordained to serve the Church, in the hierarchy of service Christ established. Deacons are servants of the bishop in his service of the people of God, while collaborating with their parish pastors. His principal ministries as servant are first to his family and marriage, if married, then to the larger church proclaiming the Gospel at Mass, to preach and teach, to assist at Mass, to pray the morning and evening Liturgy of the Hours, act as an Ordinary Minister of the Eucharist, perform baptisms, witness marriages, and perform works of charity, such as wake services, devotions, visiting the sick, and various outreaches and ministries. Most of the deacon’s time is spent serving outside the Church building.
Being a deacon is a calling. In my six years, I am so grateful to be a Deacon. There is a Diaconate Vocation Awareness Night being held at Sacred Heart Major Seminary on September 14, 2021 at 7pm.