What is a Deacon?

Men who are ordained to the diaconate promise to live out the charism of service to God’s people through the Word, Sacrament and Charity for the rest of their lives. The role of the deacon is to be a helper of the bishops and priests and to proclaim by his life the Church’s call to serve the needs of others.

The deacon is the animator and promoter of what the community of faith must be: a community of service.


The Modern Deacon

In 1967, Pope Paul VI reinstituted the diaconate as a permanent order in the Roman Catholic Church in the document entitled “Sacred Order of the Diaconate” (Permanent deacons had continued in existence in the Eastern Rite). The permanent diaconate is open to both married and single men who qualify for acceptance under canon law and diocesan statutes. The wives of aspirants for the diaconate must consent to their entering the program and are consulted at each major stage to ordination. Those men who are not married at ordination must remain celibate.


Deacon’s Role at Mass

General Principles

The Eucharistic sacrifice of the Mass is the action of Christ (GIRM 11) and of God’s people, in which the human race adores the Father, through Christ, in the Holy Spirit (16), and the faithful join themselves to Christ in giving thanks and in acknowledging the great things God has done (78). The Mass is the ‘sacrament of unity” (91, 92) in which the faithful are nourished from the table of God’s Word and of Christ’s Body (28). This unity is expressed particularly in common posture (42), in communal singing (47), reverential silence (45, 56), and in sharing together of the one bread and one cup (83, 321).