Fifth Sunday of Easter
May 7, 2023 •
The word "deacon" means servant. That's their job. They are there to serve. To serve the needs of the Bishops and the priests. And there to serve the needs of the faithful.
Deacons are ordained to "Christ the Servant". Priests and Bishops are ordained to "Christ the Head".
A deacon's role first and foremost is to serve in those areas of the Church where the Bishops and the priests just don't have the time and energy. . . .
So what does the Church look for when we interview candidates for the diaconate formation? We look for someone who is
reputable / respectable
wise / holy
filled with the Spirit and faith
already serving his local community in some way, has a service-minded heart
has raised his children well
The primary role of the deacon is to proclaim the Gospel - he has that right. Because of that he can also preach with the permission of the priest celebrant. If Holy Eucharist is being distributed under the form of the Precious Blood, that is also his by right according to a deacon's role in the liturgy.
Deacons also teach; faith formation, catechism, they help prepare couples for marriage and their child's baptism. There are any number of things they do.
For any men discerning the diaconate, if you get accepted to the program, there are many years of formation - intellectual and spiritual. You want to make sure you're properly formed and prepared to be ordained to minister in the name of Christ.
There is another thing any man getting ordained to the diaconate must promise when he gets ordained. That is: if he is married, and his spouse dies, he is forbidden from ever remarrying. If he is not married when he becomes a permanent deacon, he takes a vow of celibacy like a priest and he's never allowed to get married.
Another thing to consider is that a man cannot be ordained to the diaconate - even if the Bishop wants him, even if he wants it - without his wife's permission. She must consent to it. One of the things expected of the wives in the diaconate formation program is that they - in so far as they are able - participate in their husband's formation. The role of the deacon's wife - though it is not liturgical - because of the husband's elevation in this official capacity in the Church, is elevated in the eyes of the people. What we find is that because of this, other women and people in the parish seek them for advice and direction. So we want to see that the wives of the candidate not only encourage and support their husband's calling, but are willing and able to accept the responsibilities of being the wife of a deacon.
Because the formation is so time-consuming, generally we're looking for someone who has already raised his children. If he has kids, for the most part they are out of the home, or almost. We wouldn't want him to be take away from his primary vocation which is his family. The scriptures attest to this. If a man is called, one of the signs you look for is: has he raised his children well?
The role of deacons in the Church is apostolic. Christ did not Himself create deacons. The Apostles did. The early Church created this ministry. They recognized a need and were guided by the Holy Spirit in doing this.
If any of you men have considered or may potentially consider this vocation one day, think about it, pray about it. And what you'll do as a community, if you see a man who could serve the Lord in this capacity, certainly pray for them. Maybe ask if them: Have you ever thought about being a deacon?
Pray for our deacons in the Diocese, for their wives and families. For them men and their families who are in formation.
And pray for a deacon for our parish too.
Acts 6:1-7; Ps 33:1-2, 4-5, 18-19; 1 Pt 2:4-9; Jn 14:1-12
Homily begins at 24:03