I am always interested in another perspective on the Permanent Diaconate… particularly when the author is able to articulate “the stuff” behind our ordained ministry. Of course, it’s never without a bit of controversy.
In the Catholic Church, the Permanent Deacon’s ministry is considered to be a three-fold ministry of service: Table, Word, Charity. The “eucharistic table” embraces the call to the sacramental/liturgical aspect of the diaconate: from altar to baptismal font. In “word”, the deacon’s call to preach and teach the Word is foremost. And finally, “charity” draws the permanent deacon into the community: prison, social justice and service in the wider community.
The conversation that surrounds defining the diaconal ministry should be welcome by all: the present “Permanent Diaconate” is an infant ministry compared to the others in the church. Granted, we tend to accept those first 7 men who were called by the apostles (Acts 6) as the first “deacons”. It’s been centuries in the western church, however, since that first call to service has been realized.
Let me know what you think of Joseph Michalak’s article from The Catholic Spirit. You can either follow the link above directly to the publication or download the pdf below.