What is the role of the Deacon?
The role of the Deacon is one of service to the parish, the marginalized, homeless, widows, orphans and performance of corporal acts of mercy. In addition, there are liturgical activities which include proclaiming the Gospel, preaching, voicing the needs of the people in the general intercessions, assisting in the presentation of the gifts and distribution of Holy Communion. By our ordination we are a representative symbol of the inter-connection among the three great areas of the Church's life: word, sacrament and service.
However, our role has been expanding over the past several years as the number of parish priests diminish. As Deacons we are assuming greater responsibilities in the areas of church administration and ministry formation. In addition we are helping to promote and motivate the laity to become more involved in the mission of the Church.
More than 90 per cent of permanent deacons throughout the world are married, and through marriage, we are able to bring the experience and mutual sacrificial love of marriage to the service of the Church. The love bond, which we as Deacons and wives have developed in our lifelong ministry to one another in the sacrament of marriage, is the springboard of our ministry and to those we serve in the wider community.
As married Deacons we understand the stress of marriage: children, home, work and the difficulty in balancing church ministry with family. Today's church is dependent upon the laity for more than financial support. As our priests give up the "nuts and bolts" of running parish programs such as Religious Education, sacrament preparation, etc. the laity has to help carry the load. No longer is the church being seen as a vending machine for sacraments, counseling or spiritual nourishment. The laity is gradually taking responsibility for the health and wellbeing of their faith. As Deacons, formed and fashioned from the ranks of the laity, we fully understand both sides of the issues facing the church and our parishioners.
With the grace obtained through the sacrament of Ordination and the gifts of the Holy Spirit, we are well equipped to be a complementary companion to Father Tom and other priests in the service of our church. With the blessing of having six Deacons here at La Purfsima Concepcion, you will see us taking on a more highly visible role as we preside at baptisms, weddings, funerals, vigils and quinceaneras.
Reverend Thomas Cook