VOCATION - WHO ARE PERMANENT DEACONS?
Deacons are men called by God and the Church to a life of service.
“Deacon” comes from the Greek word diakonia meaning “servant.” The Acts of the Apostles describes how seven men “of good reputation, filled with the Spirit and with wisdom” (Acts 6:1-6) were chosen as deacons to assist the Apostles in caring for the poor and proclaiming the Gospel. Through the centuries, deacons have served the Church by exercising the ministry of charity in close cooperation with the bishop.
In 1964, the Second Vatican Council renewed the ancient order of the permanent diaconate.
Permanent deacons are distinguished from transitional deacons who are preparing for Ordination to the Priesthood. Like a priest, a deacon is a member of the clergy who shares in the ministry of the bishop. Unlike a priest, he may also have a wife, a family, and a secular occupation. In all this, the deacon is a permanent sign of Christ the Servant, called for the building up of the Church.
Ministry – What do permanent deacons do?
The service of the deacon is modelled after the threefold apostolic ministry of the bishop:
1. Ministry of the Liturgy
2. Ministry of the Word
3. Ministry of Charity
A VOCATION OF SERVICE
Frequently Asked Questions
The ministry of the permanent deacon is threefold: 1) The Ministry of Charity: accompanying and serving the poor, the aged, the sick and the imprisoned; 2) The Ministry of the Word: proclaiming the Gospel at liturgical celebrations, teaching the faith through catechetical instruction and faith formation; 3) The Ministry of the Liturgy: assisting at the Eucharistic celebration; administering the Sacrament of Baptism; witnessing marriages and presiding over funerals.
A suitable candidate for the permanent diaconate is: 1) a baptized male who has been practicing the Catholic faith for at least five years; 2) a resident of the Archdiocese of Sydney and actively involved in his parish or ecclesial community; 3) physically healthy and psychologically sound; 4) in a stable, valid marriage or living celibately if unmarried or widowed.
Candidates must be between the ages of 35 and 65 by the time of ordination.
The process of formation is not merely the acquisition of knowledge and skills; rather, it is the gradual conformity of the candidate to the person of Jesus Christ. The formation program typically takes four years and focuses on the four dimensions: human, spiritual, intellectual and pastoral – with the aim of forming the diaconal heart in the candidate. A formation team of both clergy and lay persons accompany the candidate throughout the formation period.
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