Permanent Deacons

Ordination on the Rise  
Although we were blessed to have Deacon Jeff serve St. Anthony for a few years,  there is no deacon currently assigned to our parish. We hope to be again blessed by this servant of Christ. A deacon has numerous duties in a parish: serving the priest during Mass, performing baptisms, weddings and funerals, and, most importantly, serving the poor. These men are usually married and the selection to formation nor ordination cannot happen without his wife’s blessing. This past April, 20 men from the Archdiocese of Cinicinnati were ordained permanent deacons (click here to read the Catholic Telegraph article.)
~A man must be a Catholic in good standing in the Church and fully initiated in the faith.
~He must be at least 32 years of age.
~If married, there must be evidence of a stable and growing marriage relationship.
~His wife must be willing to support her husband actively through formation and in his ministry.
~He will minimally have completed the theological and ministerial requirements for obtaining a certificate in lay ministry. (Education is evaluated on an individual case basis.)
~He will have demonstrated his ability to respond to needs for service himself and to empower others to do so.
~He is endorsed by the present pastor, parish staff and parish council.Formation for a Deacon in the Archdiocese of Cincinnati happens at The Athenaeum of Ohio. It is a 3 year period of meeting every other weekend. It is a time of learning and of discernment. Ordination, whether to the priesthood or the diaconate, like baptism and Confirmation, is a sacrament that leaves an indelible mark on the soul. The obligation of servitude in the diaconate must be taken very seriously and be given great discernment. It will forever change that couple’s lives and their marriage.

The US Conference of Catholic Bishops came out this week with a report on the US Diaconate, stating the number of permanent deacons has increased. Who are these Deacons?

~Currently there are more than 18,000 deacons, about 3,000 of them retired
~21 percent of active permanent deacons serve in full-time ministry i.e., in parishes, diocesan positions, hospital or prison ministry. (many others have careers outside of ministry)
~The Archdiocese for the Military Services, USA and the Eparchy of St. Thomas-Syro-Malabar in Chicago do not have permanent deacons.
~The most recent survey found that the largest numbers of deacons were reported by the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston (414), Diocese of Trenton, New Jersey (383), Archdiocese of Los Angeles (344) and Archdiocese of Hartford, Connecticut (300).
~Ninety-five percent of active deacons are at least 50 years old. About a quarter are in their fifties; 43 percent are in their sixties; and 25 percent are 70 or older
~Seventy-eight percent of active deacons are white. Fifteen percent are Hispanic or Latino, Three percent are African American and three percent are Asian
~Eighty-five percent of deacons are required to undergo post-ordination formation. The median number of hours is 20 per year.
~About 74 percent of dioceses also provide formation opportunities for wives of deacons.
So why do increasing numbers of men feel called to serve the church as deacons? Click here, here, and here to read personal accounts of these men’s vocational calls. To learn more general information about deacons and the diaconate, click here.
If you are interested in the diaconate, please contact Fr. Chris.