All three are essential

Diaconal ministry consists of three integral functions: Word, altar, and service. First and foremost is his service to the poor, the rejected, and the marginalized. Equally important are serving at the table of the Lord and preaching the Word of God at liturgy. All three are essential elements in the ministerial duties of a deacon. As Monsignor Buelt writes in A New Friendship “If a deacon assists at the altar or preaches the Word but does not actively serve the poor, his ministry is lacking an essential element … Nor on the other hand is a deacon credible if he serves the poor but does not proclaim God’s Word, teach what the church teaches, and live by those teaching himself … without all three functions he would lack integrity, and therefore credibility, in diaconal life.”

For many parishioners the deacon will be viewed from the perspective of his service at the altar and proclaiming the Gospel. His service to the poor will not be visible to the community at large. But, in a real sense, the deacon’s service at liturgy represents his commitment to service for the deacon’s role is one of service to all who are in need. During the liturgy, the deacon serves as the voice of the community and leads the community in prayer.

Throughout the liturgy the deacon calls upon the community to pray and take action. The deacon leads the community at the penitential act following the invitation of the priest to acknowledge our sins. It is the deacon who leads the prayer of the faithful. The church calls upon him to be the cry of the poor, giving voice to the prayers of the poor for the poor. By virtue of his ordination the deacon must be an advocate for justice and peace; it is his role then to invite the faithful to extend to one another the sign of peace before they approach the altar to receive Communion. At the conclusion of the Mass, the deacon gives the faithful their “marching orders” by dismissing them and exhorting them to go and give to others and the world what they have received from the Lord.

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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