Liturgy and Faith News
After a six year journey of formation, discernment and theological study, I hope to be ordained a Permanent Deacon by Archbishop Denis Hart in St. Patrick’s Cathedral on 14 November 2015. I will be the first ‘Old Boy’ from De La Salle Malvern to receive the Sacrament of Holy Orders since Stuart Hall and Anthony Ireland were ordained priests in 1987.
In 1967, Pope Paul VI released an apostolic letter, Sacrum Diaconatus Ordinem restoring the Permanent Diaconate after it had ceased to exist as a significant clerical entity by the tenth century. The Permanent Diaconate has since had a major impact on the Church in dioceses around the world, as the number of deacons has steadily grown.
As a deacon, I will receive the first of three levels of the sacrament of Holy Orders — deacon, priest, bishop — and will become a member of the clergy. Whilst I won’t be able to celebrate Mass or hear Confessions, I will be able to perform the usual duties of a deacon by proclaiming the Scriptures at mass, presiding at various liturgies and blessings, officiating at baptisms, marriages and funerals, as well as parish ministry on a part-time basis.
In Melbourne there are twelve married deacons who have been ordained over the past four years ministering in various capacities within the Archdiocese. Besides their usual parish commitments, some are working with the Sudanese community, ministering as chaplains and performing full-time parish administration. Other ministries served by deacons include the poor, sick, imprisoned, lonely and abandoned and others otherwise in need.
During my formation, I discovered that quite a few people regarded the role of the deacon as merely a transitional step towards priesthood. Some see deacons as “not quite a priest,” since “priests can do much more than a deacon” such as celebrating Mass and consecrating the Eucharist. The ministry of the deacon receives the fullness of Holy Orders through the bishop who distributes his ministry through the priests and deacons. Deacons are not trying to be priests. The deacon ministers in a complementary way with them.
A strength of the deacon is being able to go into the secular world and workplace as an active person of faith after Sunday Mass.
Could I ask that you keep me in your prayers, and pray that I might be able to serve the community honestly and live the ministry of the diaconate with the integrity it deserves.
Mr Graeme Pender
Liturgy & Faith Coordinator