Friday, July 10, 2009
John Paul II, "Deacons Are Configured to Christ the Servant" (November 30, 1995), nos. 3,4; available at www.ewtn.com/library/PAPALDOC/JP951130.HTM
Tuesday, June 9, 2009
The deacon will help the bishop and his body of priests as a minister of the Word, of the altar, and of charity. As a minister of the altar, he will proclaim the Gospel, prepare the sacrifice, and give the Lord's Body and Blood to the community of believers.
It will also be his duty, at the bishop's direction, to bring God's word to believers and unbelievers alike, to preside over public prayer, to baptize, to assist at marriages and to bless them, to give Viaticum to the dying and to lead the rites of burial. Once he is consecrated by the laying on of hands that comes from the apostles and is bound more closely to the altar, he will perform works of charity in the name of the bishop and the pastor.
By his own free choice he seeks to enter the order of deacon. It is a ministry which he will exercise in celibacy, which is a sign and an incentive of pastoral charity. Moved by a sincere love for Christ, he will make a new and special consecration of himself to Christ. By his life he will give witness that God must be loved above all else and that it is He whom he serves in others.
Adapted from the Rite for the Ordination of Deacons
Wednesday, May 20, 2009
In the Acts of the Apostles, Saint Luke uses the word diakonia to describe the duty or form of service assigned to the "seven men of good repute, full of the Spirit and of wisdom", called to serve at the tables of daily distribution to the widows. The institution of "The Seven" is the second defined group of disciples, "The Twelve" being the first, to be given a ministry in the Church.
In his Letter to the Philippians, Paul addresses his greeting "To all the saints in Christ Jesus who are at Philippi, with the bishops (overseers) and deacons (servants)". The use of these two terms indicate that, even at this early stage, local churches had some sort of hierarchical structure.
In Romans Paul speaks of "our sister Phoebe, a deaconess (diakonai) of the Church at Cenchreae". The service performed by such women in the early Church, which was understood to be different from the service performed by men, included assisting in the baptism of women. It was necessary to have a woman present because baptism was often performed without the benefit of clothing. Although there is some historical evidence that deaconesses were charged with their ministry in a manner resembling the ordination of deacons, there was most certainly a fundamental difference in the rites. The First Council of Nicaea (A.D. 325) made it clear that "deaconesses" did not receive sacramental ordination, which was reserved to men only.
Finally, in Chapter 3 of his First Letter to Timothy, Paul gives the qualifications for deacons (1 Timothy 3:8-13). Here we can see a distinction between the men (diakonos) and the women (diakonai) who are called to service for different purposes and with different qualifications.
Tuesday, May 12, 2009
Thursday, May 7, 2009
"25. Let the deacons, as those who serve the mysteries of Christ and of the Church, abstain from all vice and endeavor to be always pleasing to God, "ready for every good work" (cf. 2 Tim 2:21) for the salvation of men. By reason, therefore, of the order received they must surpass by far all the others in the practice of liturgical life, in the love for prayer, in the divine service, in obedience, in charity, in chastity."
That's a mighty tall order! Please pray for all Permanent Deacons, Candidates, and my fellow Aspirants.