Are you being called to the diaconate in the Roman Catholic Church?
Here is some information you might find helpful in discerning a call to holy orders.
Deacons are ordained ministers of the Church. They receive the sacrament of Holy Orders, one of the seven sacraments of the Church. There are three degrees of the sacrament of Holy Orders in the Catholic Church: Bishops, Priests, and Deacons. Deacons are ordained “in order to serve” as a sacramental sign to the Church and to the world. As the whole Church is called to serve, deacons are called, by virtue of their ordination, to ministries of service in the Church.
“Deacons share in Christ’s mission and grace in a special way. The sacrament of Holy Orders marks them with an imprint (“character”) which cannot be removed and which configures them to Christ, who made himself the “deacon” or servant of all. Among other tasks, it is the task of deacons to assist the bishop and priests in the celebration of the divine mysteries, above all the Eucharist, in the distribution of Holy Communion, in assisting at and blessing marriages, in the proclamation of the Gospel and preaching, in presiding over funerals, and in dedicating themselves to the various ministries of charity” (CCC 1570).
Married men can be ordained deacons. The Second Vatican Council decreed that the diaconate could be opened to mature married men over the age of 35. This is in keeping with the ancient tradition of the Church in which married men were ordained into this ministry. If a married deacon’s wife predeceases him, he may not remarry. An unmarried deacon to be ordained has to take the same promise of celibacy as one to be ordained a priest.
Priests and deacons are assigned by the bishop to a parish for which the bishop believes there is a need and/or where the deacon may best use his gifts and talents.
Please feel free to speak with one of the deacons or priests in our parishes. We will be happy to answer your questions and help you discern if you have a vocation. If you need more information on the application process and when the next class will be formed, please contact the Office of Clergy Personnel, 410-547-5427, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Peace and All Good,