The Permanent Diaconate
The ministry of the permanent Diaconate was restored after 1500 years by the Second Vatican Council. The Diaconate has its roots in the early Church in which “the apostles chose deacons to help them respond to the numerous and urgent needs of the infant Church and to maintain fidelity to its mission of service. Deacons are called to embody the ideal of every follower of Christ, to be ‘one who serves’.” (Luke 22:27) Quote taken from www.stpetersseminary.ca/institute/permanent_diaconate
In the early church deacons were largely responsible for caring for the physical needs of the most vulnerable in the community through the distribution of food and other basic necessities to the poor.
Today a permanent deacon is a man who:
- Is called to be open to God’s love, promises and will for him;
- Is prayerful, desiring to love God and God’s people in the context of his fundamental vocation;
- is ordained to the permanent diaconate in the Church for service, rooted in Baptism, to those in need;
- helps members of the Church to discover and participate through their giftedness in the ministry of Christ;
- serves a particular diocese as a collaborative associate of the Bishop and priests, lay ministers and professionals;
- is called, with others, to the work of evangelization;
- participates in sacramental preparation;
- preaches, teaches, counsels and provides spiritual guidance;
- may baptize, witness marriages and preside at wake services;
- may be married.
Generally, a candidate for the permanent diaconate must be at least 35 years of age at the time of ordination. Married deacons must have been married for at least seven years in order to be accepted for the formation programme. Single men are required to make a solemn and public commitment to the celibate life and normally are not permitted to marry after their ordination to the Diaconate. Candidates must be employed or retired with an adequate income. Permanent deacons are not paid for their services as deacons. Applicants must be healthy physically and psychologically and are required to have a university or college education. A candidate should already be involved in services within his parish and/or community.