1. Who is a
A deacon is an ordained minister of the Catholic Church. There are
groups, or "orders," of ordained ministers in the Church: bishops,
presbyters and deacons. Deacons are ordained as a sacramental sign to
Church and to the world of Christ, who came "to serve and not to be
served." The entire Church is called by Christ to serve, and the
in virtue of his sacramental ordination and through his various
to be a servant in a servant-Church.
2. What are
these "various ministries" of the Deacon?
All ordained ministers in the Church are called to functions of Word,
Sacrament, and Charity, but bishops, presbyters and deacons exercise
functions in various ways. As ministers of Word, deacons proclaim the
preach, and teach in the name of the Church. As ministers of Sacrament,
baptize, lead the faithful in prayer, witness marriages, and conduct
funeral services As ministers of Charity, deacons are leaders
identifying the needs of others, then marshaling the Church's resources
meet those needs. Deacons are also dedicated to eliminating the
inequities that cause such needs. But no matter what specific functions
performs, they flow from his sacramental identity. In other words, it
only WHAT a deacon does, but WHO a deacon is, that is important.
3. Why do some
deacons become priests?
For many years ordained ministers "ascended" from one office to
culminating in ordination to the presbyterate, or priesthood. The
Vatican Council (1962 – 1965), however, authorized the
restoration of the
diaconate as a PERMANENT order of ministry. So, while students for the
priesthood are still ordained deacons prior to their ordination as
there are more than 13, 000 deacons in the United States
alone who minister in
this Order permanently. There is no difference in the sacramental sign
functions between these so-called "transitional" and "permanent
4. May married
men be ordained deacons?
Yes. The Second Vatican Council decreed that the diaconate, when it was
restored as a permanent order in the hierarchy, could be opened to
married men," later clarified to mean men over the age of 35. This is
keeping with the ancient tradition of the Church, in which married men
ordained into ministry. Also in keeping with ancient practice is the
expectation that while a married man may be ordained, an ordained man,
wife should die, may not marry again without special permission.
5. Is a Deacon
ordained for the Parish or the Diocese?
Whenever a person is ordained, he is to serve the diocesan Church.
no different in this regard: they are assigned by the bishop to
which the bishop perceives a great need, and for which the deacon may
special gifts or talents. Most often, this will be within a parish
just as most priests serve in a parish. Once assigned to the parish,
and any other clergy assigned to the parish minister under the
supervision of the pastor. However, this assignment may be changed at
request of the deacon or the initiative of the bishop.
6. How do I
find out more about becoming a Deacon?
The best place to start is with your pastor, who can put you in touch
Director of Permanent Deacons for our archdiocese. The Director will be
various requirements and processes to be followed. Our Director Deacon
Ray Duplechain can be reached at phone number 504-861-6329.
provided by the USCCB)
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