WHAT IS A PERMANENT DEACON?
permanent deacon is a man of faith and love, who, as an ordained
minister of the Catholic Church, strives to extend that faith and love
by serving the sick, the lonely, the troubled, and the poor, by
proclaiming the Word of God, and by administering His Sacraments. As the
Greek word diakonos suggests, a deacon is a servant, assisting
in the work of bringing God to His people and of reconciling His people
to God through the proclamation of the Word, celebration of the
Sacraments and service to others. Often his most effective ministry on
behalf of the Church is in the surroundings of his worldly environment.
can be traced to apostolic times. In the Acts of the
Apostles, Chapter 6, one reads its origins. Among the first seven
deacons was Saint Stephen. He was the first martyr to shed his blood as a
witness to the faith in Jesus Christ the
The deacon in the Catholic Church is a member of the
hierarchy which is comprised of bishop, priest and deacon. As an
ordained minister, he partakes in the fullness of the priesthood of the
bishop along with the body of priests in a given diocese. At ordination
to the diaconate he also becomes part of the Church's clergy.
His service to the people of God has three aspects
of participation. In liturgical ministry he assists the bishop and
priests in the Eucharistic Rite. He is significantly assigned to
proclaim the Gospel and to preach on occasion. He imparts the solemn
blessing with the Blessed Sacrament at Benediction. He may baptize,
witness and bless marriages, preside at the Liturgy of the Hours and at wakes and grave site services.
Each deacon is commissioned by the bishop at
ordination to "Receive the Gospel of Christ, whose herald you are.
Believe what you read, teach what you believe, and practice what you
teach." Thus evangelization and catechesis are an essential part of the
deacon's ministry of the Word, the heartbeat of all that he is called to
be and do.
In his ministry of charity the deacon is able to
bring a unique sensitivity in ministering to the needs of families,
single parents, students, the aged, the infirmed, the imprisoned, those
who suffer from poverty or addictions and many other important services
already existing or yet to be discovered.
All Christians are called to charity but the deacon
is one who, responding to the call of the Holy Spirit, is sent by the
Church to bring Christ and His Good News to those in need. His actions
and deeds should serve to inspire and support the faithful in their own
imitation of Christ.
There are currently 61 permanent deacons serving the Diocese of Arlington.
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