Catholic Series: The Diaconate


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The Permanent Diaconate : 

The Permanent Diaconate Mr. Pablo Cuadra Religion Class

Scriptures : 

Scriptures "Now in these days when the disciples were increasing in number, the Hellenists murmured against the Hebrews because their widows were neglected in the daily distribution. And the twelve summoned the body of the disciples and said, "It is not right that we should give up preaching the word of God to serve tables. Therefore, brethren, pick out from among you seven men of good repute, full of the Spirit and of wisdom, whom we may appoint to this duty. But we will devote ourselves to prayer and to the ministry of the word." "And what they said pleased the whole multitude, and they chose Stephen, a man full of faith and of the Holy Spirit, and Philip, and Prochorus, and Nicanor, and Timon, and Parmenas, and Nicolaus, a proselyte of Antioch. These they set before the apostles, and they prayed and laid their hands upon them." "And the word of God increased; and the number of the disciples multiplied greatly in Jerusalem, and a great many of the priests were obedient to the faith. And Stephen, full of grace and power, did great wonders and signs among the people." (Acts 6:1-8)

What is the meaning of the word deacon? : 

What is the meaning of the word deacon? The word deacon is derived from the Greek word diakonos, which is often translated servant.

What is diaconate? : 

What is diaconate? The diaconate is a ministry of service in the Roman Catholic Church and one of three ordain ministries in Holy Orders.

What is a distinctive characteristic of the diaconate? : 

What is a distinctive characteristic of the diaconate? The Diaconate is ministry of service. Deacons do not share in the priesthood, but are ordained to service. Deacons collaborate with both bishops and priests in their ministries.

The Diaconate : 

The Diaconate “Deacons exercise their ministry in communion not only with their bishop but also with the priests who serve the diocesan Church. As collaborators in ministry, priests and deacons are two complementary but subordinate participants in the one apostolic ministry bestowed by Christ upon the apostles and their successors. The diaconate is not an abridged or substitute form of the priesthood, but is a full order in its own right.” National Directory for the formation, ministry and life of Permanent Deacons in the United States

What types of Diaconate are there? : 

What types of Diaconate are there? Transitional Deacons: Those preparing for the priesthood. Permanent Deacons: Those ordained to the permanent ministry of service. Permanent deacons can be single or married men. Deacons are official ministers of the Catholic Church.

What are the three important areas of service in the diaconate? : 

What are the three important areas of service in the diaconate? Deacons are called to serve the Church in three areas: The Word (proclamation, evangelization) The Altar (sacramental and liturgical) Charity (diakonia- service)

What can deacons do? : 

What can deacons do? Celebrate solemn Baptisms Bless and witness marriage ceremonies Preach during mass Proclaim the Gospel Teach Lead funerals Lead prayer services Comfort the sick Prayer services for the sick and dying Assist the bishop or priest during the liturgical functions of the mass Lead communion services Oversees the ministries of charity of the parish. Serve as chaplains Preside over the Liturgy of the Hours Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament Public Blessings

Did you know? : 

Did you know? Deacons cannot celebrate the Eucharist (Mass), the sacrament of confirmation, reconciliation and anointing of the sick. These sacraments can only be celebrated by bishops or priests. Only Bishops can ordain priests and deacons to Holy Orders. Deacon blessing

What liturgical Vestments are associated with the diaconate? : 

What liturgical Vestments are associated with the diaconate? The vestments most particularly associated with the Roman Catholic deacon are the dalmatic and stole. Deacons, like priests and bishops, wear the stole; however, deacons place the stole over their left shoulder and it hangs across to their right side, while priests and bishops wear it around the neck. Dalmatica Stole

Did you know? : 

Did you know? The dalmatic is a long wide-sleeved tunic, which serves as a liturgical vestment in the Roman Catholic Church, sometimes worn by a deacon at the mass and, although infrequently, by bishops as an undergarment above the alb. Like the chasuble, it is an outer vestment and is supposed to match the liturgical colors of the day. At a Pontifical High Mass, it is worn by the bishop under the chasuble.

Requirements for Diaconate : 

Requirements for Diaconate Be a baptized and confirmed Catholic Be at least 35 years of age and not older than 60 Be employed Must have consent from wife Married at least five years Moral character and sound spirituality Be an active member of the community of faith (parish). Be willing to commit to the formation process. Must have completed High school.

Famous Deacons : 

Famous Deacons St. Stephen –First Christian martyr St. Lawrence- Early Roman martyr. By tradition, St. Lawrence was sentenced at San Lorenzo in Miranda, martyred at San Lorenzo in Panisperna, and buried in the Via Tiburtina in the Catacomb of Cyriaca by Hippolytus and Justinus, a presbyter. Constantine I is said to have built a small oratory in honour of the martyr, which was a station on the itineraries of the graves of the Roman martyrs by the 7th century. Legend says that he was so strong-willed that instead of giving in to the Romans and releasing information about the Church, at the point of death he exclaimed "I am done on this side! Turn me over and eat." The stone on which Saint Lawrence's body was laid after his death

The Deacons and Scriptures : 

The Deacons and Scriptures 1 Timothy 3: 8-13 Similarly, deacons must be dignified, not deceitful, not addicted to drink, not greedy for sordid gain, holding fast to the mystery of the faith with a clear conscience. Moreover, they should be tested first; then, if there is nothing against them, let them serve as deacons. Deacons may be married only once and must manage their children and their households well. Thus those who serve well as deacons gain good standing and much confidence in their faith in Christ Jesus.

Did you know? : 

Did you know? By the fifth century, it seems, most deacons did little except perform unctions. By this time, too, the idea had begun to gain currency that the diaconate was no more than an introductory stage in Orders, a step on the way toward ordination as a priest. Its value as an integral part of the hierarchy of Orders – deacons, priests, bishops – was obscured. By the Middle Ages the office of deacon was, according to Rahner, close to being a "legal fiction". So it remained for many centuries. There were deacons in the Western church, but they were men on their way to becoming priests. Few people imagined it being any different.

The Restoration of the Permanent Diaconate : 

The Restoration of the Permanent Diaconate Lumen Gentium (Dogmatic Constitution on the Church) called for the restoration of the permanent diaconate."It may well be possible in the future to restore the diaconate as a proper and permanent rank of the hierarchy" (LG 29).Pope Paul VI did so on June 18, 1967, the feast of St. Ephraim, a deacon. The Pope’s apostolic letter Sacrum Diaconatus Ordinem permitted episcopal conferences to request that the Holy See allow the ordination to the permanent diaconate of celibate and married men.In April 1968, the American bishops made that request. Four months later it was granted. The first Standing Committee on the Permanent Diaconate was appointed by the National Conference of Catholic Bishops in November 1968. That committee developed the first program of study for the diaconate, with the first deacons being ordained in May and June 1971. Pope Paul VI

Vatican II and the Diaconate : 

Vatican II and the Diaconate The Dogmatic Constitution on the Church (Lumen gentium), #29: “Since the laws and customs of the Latin Church in force today in many areas render it difficult to fulfill these functions, which are so extremely necessary for the life of the Church, it will be possible in the future to restore the diaconate as a proper and permanent rank of the hierarchy.” The Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy (Sacrosanctum concilium), #35“Bible services should be encouraged, especially on the vigils of the more solemn feasts, on some weekdays of Advent and Lent, and on Sundays and Holy days, especially in places where no priest is available. In this case a deacon or some other person authorized by the bishop should preside over the celebration.” The Dogmatic Constitution on Divine Revelation (Dei Verbum), #25 “Therefore, all clerics, particularly priests of Christ and others who, as deacons or catechists, are officially engaged in the ministry of the Word, should immerse themselves in the Scriptures by constant sacred reading and diligent study.” The Decree on Missionary Activity (Ad gentes), #16“The Church is more firmly rooted in a people when the different communities of the faithful have ministers of salvation who are drawn from their own brothers – bishops, priests and deacons, serving their own brothers – so that these young churches gradually acquire a diocesan structure with their own clergy. . . .” “It would help those men who carry out the ministry of a deacon – preaching the word of God as catechists, governing scattered Christian communities in the name of the bishop or parish priest, or exercising charity in the performance of social or charitable works – if they were to be strengthened by the imposition of hands which has come down from the apostles. They would be more closely bound to the altar and their ministry would be made more fruitful through the sacramental grace of the diaconate.” The Decree on Eastern Catholic Churches (Orientalium ecclesiarum), #17 “The holy council wishes the institution of the permanent diaconate to be restored where it has fallen into disuse, in order that the ancient discipline of the Sacrament of Orders may flourish once more in the Eastern Churches.”

For More Information : 

For More Information For more information about the diaconate and local dioceses go to the following link:

St. Vincent’s Prayer for Deacons : 

St. Vincent’s Prayer for Deacons Holy God, Saint Vincent served You as a permanent deacon and gave his whole life and soul to You, even to the point of becoming a martyr. I lift up to You the deacons of the Church and all those who are being called by God to become deacons. Guide them as they discern how to serve the Body of Christ. Prevent the attractions of the world and the busyness of secular jobs from interfering with their vocations. Teach them to grow in humility. Help their families learn from their examples and support their diaconates with trust and joy. Saint Vincent, pray for us. Amen. For more presentations please visit:

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