Deacons Preach

With all due respect to the writer of a recent article over at  Aletia who states that diaconal preaching is essentially non-liturgical (http://www.aleteia.org/en/religion/article/father-rutler-on-preaching-the-art-of-drawing-the-flock-to-the-sacramental-life-5874308433838080), I must underscore here the importance and indeed I believe the centrality of deacons preaching in liturgical settings.

I often heard in formation that all deacons must preach. Those who have a well-honed skill in doing so should do so often; those who may not have as strongly that skill and ability should do so less often, but preaching is integral to the vocation. Not only does Canon Law permit this (see Canons 764 and 767 #1), and the Catechism addresses it (see #1570), the Sacred Scriptures themselves demonstrate it (see the preaching of the deacons Philip and Lawrence and Stephen).  Finally, the ordination rite of the deacon itself emphasizes the proclamation of the Gospel and witnessing to that Gospel.

Indeed, as I have written about in an article soon to be published in the Josephinum Diaconate Review, an essential aspect of the diaconal vocation is a call to a spiritual martyrdom that results from a deacon’s complete consecration to the preaching of the Gospel. Yes, it is true that preaching the Gospel is inclusive of preaching by example and by works of charity, it preeminently includes the deacon preaching the homily in the liturgical assembly, including the Sunday Mass.

The lived reality of the Church is that deacons preach.  They preach as well as their brother priests for the most part. Yes, there are complaints about the quality of preaching by many, but those complaints lay not exclusively in the laps of the diaconate.  Frankly, the impression I have is most in the pews find diaconal preaching refreshing. That impression is not only mine, but also a respected bishop who I will leave unnamed.

The faculty to preach throughout the world is extended to all deacons by virtue of their ordination, only to be limited by specific directives from a local bishop. These are the same limits placed upon those in the presbytery.

Yes, deacons preach. Yes, deacons, preach the Gospel and give a good homily!

About Deacon Bob

Moderator: Deacon Bob Yerhot of the Diocese of Winona, Minnesota.
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