I have started a brief series of explanations for my local parish about Catholic deacons. I find that almost everyone has little if any idea what a deacon is other than a man standing up at the altar with the priest, wearing a different stole and preaching the homily once a month or so. Most seem to think they are lay men with a special uniform. Or mini-priests. Hardly any know they are clergy. They seemed stunned that they receive the Sacrament of Holy Orders like priests and bishops.
Here is my first parish bulletin installment about the diaconate.
“A deacon is a man, either married or single, who receives the Sacrament of Holy Orders and ordained to service in the Church. Because he receives Holy Orders, he is a cleric, like priests and bishops, but he almost always lives a secular lifestyle, with family and career. He is also given a ministry in the diocese, and this usually involves an assignment to a parish. He ministers as much as his time and talent allows. He does not receive a salary for his work in the Church. A deacon has a three-fold ministry. He is a minister of the Word, a minister of Liturgy, and a minister of Charity. In future installments, I will explain a bit about each of these. An important thing to remember about deacons is they are ordained not to priesthood, but to diakonia (service). Priests and bishops are ordained to resemble Jesus the High Priest. Deacons are ordained to resemble Jesus the Servant of all. The diaconate was restored as a permanent order by Pope Paul VI in 1968.”
If you would like a little more information in a conversational style, log on to: www.bustedhalo.com/features/what-is-a-deacon
An interview with a Catholic deacon from the New York City area is there and gives a snapshot of a deacon’s life.
More on this topic later