In total service to others

Early church writers describe bishops as representing God the Father in the community, priests as representing the Apostles, and deacons as representatives of the ministry of Jesus Christ.

Deacons were actively engaged in the ministry of Jesus Christ during the early centuries of the church. Beyond the first seven who were ordained by the Apostles, many others continued to serve the Lord. For example: St. Lawrence, who when ordered to produce the treasures of the Church, presented the poor of Rome. He was summarily executed by grilling. Even when dying he had a sense of humor by telling his executioner to turn him over because he was done on that side. St. Francis of Assisi, who founded the Franciscan order, was a deacon of the early church.

Over the centuries the diaconate fell into disuse and eventually became non-existent, except for the order of transitional deacons, the final order before ordination to the priesthood. In 1967, there were no permanent deacons in the Latin Rite of the Catholic Church; today there are more than 35,000. The Second Vatican Council redefined the church as a servant to the world and deacons as the animators of the church’s own servant-character.

Being a deacon is about Christ and the people we serve. At ordination the bishop places the Book of the Gospels into a deacon’s hands and says “Receive the Gospel of Christ, whose herald you now are: Believe what you read, teach what you believe, and practice what you teach.” Echoing St. Paul “Do not grasp the diaconate as something to be exploited, but empty yourself, taking the form of a slave, in total service to others.

About the author: Deacon Chuck

Deacon Chuck was ordained into the permanent diaconate on September 17, 2011, in the ministry of service to the Diocese of Reno and assigned to St. Albert the Great Catholic Community. He currently serves as the parish bulletin editor and website administrator. Deacon Chuck continues to serve the parish of Saint Albert the Great Catholic Community of the Diocese of Reno, Nevada. He is the Director of Adult Faith Formation and Homebound Ministries for the parish, conducts frequent adult faith formation workshops, and is a regular homilist. He currently serves as the bulletin editor for the parish bulletin. He writes a weekly column intended to encompass a broad landscape of thoughts and ideas on matters of theology, faith, morals, teachings of the magisterium and the Catholic Church; they are meant to illuminate, illustrate, and catechize the readers and now number more than 230 articles. His latest endeavor is "Colloqui: A journal for restless minds", a weekly journal of about 8 pages similar in content to bulletin reflections. All his reflections, homilies, commentaries, and Colloqui are posted and can be found on his website: Comments are always welcome and appreciated. He is the author of two books: "The Voices of God: hearing God in the silence" which offers the reader insights into how to hear God’s voice through all of the noise that surrounds us; and "Echoes of Love: Effervescent Memories" which through a combination of prose and verse provides the reader with a wonderful journey on the way to discovering forever love. He regularly speaks to groups of all ages and size and would welcome the opportunity to speak to your group.

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