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  • Writer's pictureMichael Orange

What is a Permanent Deacon & His Role

I believe it could be helpful to clarify the concept of a deacon and the functions we fulfill within the Catholic Church. This explanation is often sought by many. It’s important to note that a deacon is not a mini priest. The origins of our role can be traced through scripture, particularly in passages like Acts 6:3-4 and 1 Timothy 3:8.

A permanent deacon in the Catholic Church holds a distinctive role that bridges the gap between the clergy and the laity. Unlike transitional deacons who are on the path to priesthood, permanent deacons are ordained to this role for life. This unique ministry, restored by the Second Vatican Council in the 1960s, serves as a powerful example of service, charity, and commitment within the Church.

The primary role of a permanent deacon revolves around service. Rooted in the Gospel example of Jesus washing the feet of his disciples, deacons are called to emulate Christ's humility through acts of service. They engage in various pastoral and charitable activities, often assisting priests in their pastoral duties. This can include preaching, administering sacraments such as baptism and marriage, and leading prayer services. Their presence extends into diverse settings, from liturgical celebrations within the church to outreach efforts in the community.

Importantly, a permanent deacon is uniquely positioned to connect the sacred and the secular. Being active members of the community, deacons understand the challenges and needs of the people they serve. This proximity allows them to offer spiritual guidance while addressing practical issues that affect individuals and families. Their role as a bridge between the sacred and the everyday highlights the Church's commitment to meeting people where they are, both spiritually and materially.

A permanent deacon’s role is also one of proclamation. Through their preaching, they bring the Gospel message to life, making it relevant to the modern world. This role necessitates the ability to communicate effectively, conveying the teachings of the Church with clarity and conviction. As husbands and fathers, many permanent deacons draw upon their experiences in family life, enriching their preaching with relatable anecdotes and insights.

While their roles encompass numerous responsibilities, permanent deacons also serve as a symbol of the Church’s servant leadership. Their commitment to selflessly serve others reflects the essence of Christ's ministry. This serves as a constant reminder that the call to discipleship is not limited to a select few, but is a vocation for all Christians. By living out this vocation in their everyday lives, permanent deacons inspire others to recognize their own unique callings and to embrace the Gospel message more fully.

The role of a permanent deacon in the Catholic Church is multifaceted and dynamic. It embodies service, proclamation, and bridge-building between the sacred and secular realms. Their dedication to serving both the spiritual and practical needs of the community underscores the Church's commitment to meeting people where they are. As visible examples of servant leadership, permanent deacons inspire others to embrace their own callings within the body of Christ.

Please pray for me and all our deacons in the Diocese of Greensburg so we may always be Holy and serve with humility.


Deacon Mike


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