We’re blessed with the ministry of about 30 active permanent deacons in our Diocese.
"Permanent deacons" are men who stay as deacons - as distinct from priests-in-training who pass through the stage of the diaconate on their way to priesthood. The Permanent Diaconate was restored by Pope Paul VI at the end of the Second Vatican Council. The deacon’s distinctive ministry is one of Word: proclaiming the Gospel and preaching at Mass. Altar: celebrating baptisms and weddings and funeral services outside of Mass. Charity: their ministry has a close association with service to those in need and, as they are generally have jobs outside the Church, they are “sacred ministers in the workplace”.
Each deacon has a wide variety of roles depending upon their individual, personal and parish circumstances.
Men considering the diaconate are generally married men and have usually been very involved in parish and local community life for many years. The idea of diaconal service often first occurred years ago, and it’s only when several people ask whether he’s considered it that an applicant takes it further. This might be at a particular point when he has an opportunity to review his life and commitments.
A candidate has to be between 35 and 60 years old in order to begin the 3 year process of formation for ordination and be judged suitable by Bishop Peter.
Deacons find their ministry a fruitful and fulfilling one and they enhance greatly the life of the parish communities which they serve.
-Fr Francis Higgins, Beaconsfield
Deacon (from the Greek diakonos + servant) is the first degree in the Sacrament of Holy Orders in the Catholic Church. As the name itself implies, a deacon is involved especially in charity work (diakonia), yet he also teaches and catechizes, proclaims the Gospel, preaches at Mass, and assists during the liturgy.
Click here to find about a personal experience of becoming a deacon.
This article decribes the process involved (p1 The Vine August 2011).