Tag Archives: Permanent Diaconate

Stirring the Flame of Faith

2 Timothy 1:1-3, 6-12

For this reason, I remind you to stir into flame the gift of God that you have through the imposition of my hands. For God did not give us a spirit of cowardice but rather of power and love and self-control. So do not be ashamed of your testimony to our Lord, nor of me, a prisoner for his sake; but bear your share of hardship for the Gospel with the strength that comes from God.”

At first glance at the words above from St. Paul to Timothy, it was if St. Paul were speaking direct to my heart at a time that I needed it the most. The words are a reminder that 8 years ago I experienced the “imposition of laying on of hands” from a wonderful Bishop who admonished me to always trust in God. And now, I was being again admonished…that in my Diaconal Ministry, God expects me to boldly bear witness to Him with the spirit of empowerment…that my armor is a spirit of love and self-control. In my Diaconal Ministry, I am called to be a living testimony to Christ and must bear any hardship for the Gospel…because the indelible seal of the Holy Spirit will provide me all the strength necessary. Yes, these words spoke direct to me personally…and it is my hope that my brother Deacons and all Ordained Ministers embrace these words and accept, as I have, the admonishment in a spirit of love and dedication to ministry.

My friends in Christ, whether Ordained or Laypersons, regardless of our faith tradition or Christian affiliation, today’s Scripture is a reminder that each of us has been given a gift from God that must be “stirred into flame.” As people of faith, we are lovingly admonished by Jesus that He has empowered us to love and live with self-control…to boldly proclaim the Gospel, accepting both the hardships of service and strength provided by the Holy Spirit.

Today, will you join with me in stirring the flame of our faith…and to proclaim with courage that hope, joy, and peace is attainable only through accepting the love offered by Jesus Christ? GRH


The wisdom of the Church…

Can. 1039 All candidates for any order are to make a spiritual retreat for at least five days in a place and manner determined by the ordinary. Before the bishop proceeds to ordination, he must be certain that the candidates properly made this retreat.

The upcoming Canonical Retreat for the 8 men in their final year of diaconate formation and their wives at Christ the King Retreat House, Syracuse, N.Y. confirms the wisdom of the Catholic Church in prescribing, by Canon Law, that all candidates for ordination set time aside.

SUN photo Paul Finch / July 16, 2003

Time to complete a final discernment… time to pray… to laugh… to learn… to enjoy good food and great company. The canonical retreat will be a spirit-filled time in an environment designed to provide space to reflect on four years of growing together and the changes about to occur as each of these couples takes their place in a ministry that is still being defined!

May the Holy Spirit fill their time with a peaceful resolve to serve God’s people and the courage to fully embrace their vocational call.

Putting deacons in their place?

Omnium in Mente, “In the Mind of All”,  a document written by Pope Benedict XVI in October but released on December 15, 2009 “clarifies” the role of the Permanent Deacon, by updating Canon Law in a new third paragraph, [Canon 1009].  The revision states in part,

…while deacons are enabled to serve the people of God in the diaconate of the liturgy, the word and charity.

According to Zenit and the National Catholic Reporter, the change brings the canon in line with the Catechism of the Catholic Church and clarifies the role of bishops and priests, as distinctly different than permanent deacons. Makes sense?  As I read the change, the “while” in the new paragraph has a “line in the sand” quality… a demarc point that doesn’t reflect the balance of the current canon.

What do you think?  Here’s a link to the current canons…  ORDERS

Waiting in the wings…

“Dearly beloved, these, our brothers, standing here today in the presence of the Church are being recommended to us and to you for admission as candidates for Holy Orders.” Bishop Cunningham’s homily to the candidates may have followed the rubric to the “T”, but it carried all the weight the occassion deserved:  eight men and their supportive wives, who have been earnestly dedicated to intensive study and formation for the Permanent Diaconate, stepped out from the wings today and proclaimed that they were prepared to “complete their preparation so that in due time through Holy Orders they will be prepared to assume ministry with the Church.”

We congratulate these eight men, called to serve in the Church through their service to the Eucharistic Table, the Word and Acts of Charity.  In just six short months, they will stand beside us, as the bishop proclaimed, Aware of the Lord’s concern for his flock and realizing the needs of the Church, our brothers consider themselves fully ready to respond generously to the call of the Lord.”

Posted by Dc. Tim McNerney at Holy Cross Church, Dewitt, NY

A living sacramental sign…

Snapshot 2009-09-08 21-48-21I 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.

Deacons – Living Sacramental Sign of Christ the Servant