Ministries of a Deacon
One of the most common questions being asked is “What does the deacon do?”
Simply put, the diaconate is a ministry of service. While the priest’s role is to lead the faithful to God, the deacon’s role is to be a sacramental sign of Christ’s service to the people of God. The deacon’s primary role is to be present to those in need in whatever ways they need him. The role is a ministry of compassion in which the faithful see, through his example, the servant Christ in their midst.
In this diocese, as in the majority of dioceses, the deacon is ordained for a specific type of service. He receives a mandate from the bishop to minister to the disenfranchised, those members of the community who have been pushed to the fringes of society by virtue of the isolation caused by such things as crime, poverty, age, travel, work or illness. He does this through the exercise of his gifts and talents to listen, comfort, help and care for those he serves.
The deacon will serve in two distinct ways, in the service of the bishop outside the boundaries of the parish, and in the service of his parish.
The main ministry outside the parish will depend on his abilities, the needs of the diocese, and the local community he serves. He will minister in an official way in such areas as hospitals and nursing homes, prisons and jails, senior citizens homes, in a ministry to seamen or migrant workers, to the homeless and the poor, to the physically and emotionally challenged.
The deacon will also offer himself to his pastor to assist in any liturgical celebration where the pastor wishes help. In most parishes, the deacon will be present at Sunday Mass and carry out the specific role of the deacon in that liturgy by proclaiming the gospel and preparing the altar. Most deacons will be granted faculties to preach, to witness marriages, to administer baptisms, to lead the rites of funerals and wakes. In short, he will work with the pastor in such a way that his relationship will be beneficial to the parish. He may inspire and support others in works of charity and service, taking care not to minimize, degrade or overshadow the efforts of others.
Do you wonder if you are being called to this ministry of service?
Or do you know someone who should be encouraged to consider this ministry?
If so, contact Deacon Gunther Eyer at the Catholic Centre, 905-684-0154.