On Friday, May 5th we had the pleasure of witnessing five seminarians being ordained as deacons at their diaconal ordination. Often times there is some confusion about the role of a deacon in the Catholic Church, so let’s breakdown their role in a brief description.
In the hierarchy of the Catholic Church, you have the Pope at the top, and then there are cardinals, bishops, priests and deacons. A deacon must have been baptized in the Roman Catholic Church, he must be at least 35 years old and he must be a practicing Catholic. If he was baptized as an adult then he must have belonged to the church for at least five years prior to being ordained. There are two types of deacons, permanent and transitional. Permanent deacons are men ordained to an office in the Catholic Church who normally have no intention or desire of becoming priests. He can be single or married. Permanent deacons, who typically have a family, will often have a career outside of the church to support themselves and their family. The other is a transitional deacon; this is a celibate man who has been ordained a deacon who intends to become a priest. The Bishop ordains a transitional deacon about a year after their diaconal ordination.
Deacons, as ministers of the Church are called to functions of Word, Sacrament, and Charity. As ministers of Word, deacons preach and teach in the name of the Church and proclaim the Gospel. As ministers of Sacrament, deacons baptize, lead the faithful in prayer, witness marriages, and conduct funeral services. As ministers of Charity, deacons are leaders in identifying the needs of others, then organizing the Church’s resources to meet those needs. Deacons are also dedicated to eliminating the hardships that cause these needs. Deacons may not hear confessions, Anoint the Sick or say Mass. Deacons can however, assist with the Mass by reading the gospel or preaching the homily.
If you are interested in learning more about becoming a Deacon, contact the Director for the Columbus Diaconate Office, Deacon Frank Iannarino at 614-228-2457.
Source: United States Conference of Catholic Bishops