Deacons are responsible for caring for the poor, the sick, and the widowed. In the Early Church. alms for the less fortunate would be given to the deacons who would then distribute them to the poor and the needy in the community. Meanwhile, the apostles and the early leaders would preach, heal the sick, and lead the Eucharist in a similar manner to that of a contemporary priest.
Today, deacons continue to work with the poor and those in pastoral need. In many parishes they bring communion to those in prison or may work with the elderly, in schools, or in soup kitchens, They may also work in parishes as managers, or in finance, due to existing professional experience. They are an invaluable blessing to the modern-day Church. Read more about their work below.
What may deacons do in the Church, if available & required?
- Proclaim the Gospel at Mass and preach
- Ordinarily distribute the Body and Blood of Christ, often visiting the sick and housebound
- Baptise children and officiate weddings
- Preside at funerals outside Mass or burial services
- Preside the Liturgy with distribution of Holy Communion in the absence of a priest
- Bless people and objects
- Takes the chaplain role in school, hospital, prison, public services police or fire and rescue, religious groups and organisations, like the Knights of St Columba.
Where do Deacons carry out their ministry?
- Deacons are appointed to a parish within a specific deanery (a grouping of parishes) according to pastoral need determined by the bishop.
- Deacons are witnesses to the faith, mediating between the Church and the world. Thus, a deacon’s most vital ministry may be in the workplace.
What is the difference between a Permanent and a Transitional Deacon?
Although deacons were a distinct order of service in the early years of the Church, in time the Diaconate became a minor order as part of the progression to the priesthood. Pope Paul VI restored the Diaconate as a distinct order of clergy in 1967, but the Transitional Diaconate remains a stepping stone to ordination as a priest. Every priest is also ordained as a Deacon, typically a year to six months prior to their priestly ordination.