The Second Vatican Council reinvigorated the ancient order of deacons, reinstituting the permanent diaconate. By calling and ordaining deacons the Church is saying something fundamental: that service is at the heart of the human and divine mystery. Deacons are a permanent feature of the Church and the Church is not fully herself wherever deacons, priests or bishops are lacking. Pope Francis is named after the most famous deacon in history. Historically, the deacon served as the eyes and ears of the bishop and in practical ways as the heart and hands. He is a ‘go-between’ as it were between the secular and the Church.
Deacons are intermediaries, informing the community of the bishop’s wishes and, in return, conveying what the community reflects to the bishop. It is a ministry that extends well beyond the walls of the church. The role does not detract from the vital role of an empowered lay faithful, and it should enrich it. A vibrant diaconate will enhance and expand the ministry of the priesthood.
“Deacons are a permanent feature of the Church”
The gift and calling of the deacon is not for his own sake but for building up the Church in particular ways:
In their active involvement in the community, their outreach to the poor and marginalised, and their fostering of Eucharistic communion, deacons sacramentalise the Church’s service. The support of a deacon’s family is vital and essential for anyone contemplating the ordained ministry of the permanent diaconate.
Criteria for the permanent diaconate
Have you thought about becoming a permanent deacon?
The Diocese of Parramatta has ten men ordained as permanent deacons who serve in various ministries in parishes, prisons and hospitals. Another seven men are in formation in the diaconate program (current December 2017). Permanent deacons are ordained ministers of the Catholic Church. Most men ordained as permanent deacons are married men. The order of deacons is collectively called the diaconate.
The Diocese of Parramatta welcomes applications from men who meet the following criteria applicable to this vocation: