As many of you know I celebrated my 15th anniversary on Ascension Thursday. For me this is a great blessing. I thought I would remind you “what a deacon is”.
Deacon comes from the Greek word diakonos meaning servant. Deacon’s, as servants of God’s people had their scriptural origins in Chapter 6, verses 1-6 of the Acts of the Apostles. At that time the original Apostles were so busy preaching the gospel that they had no time for widows and orphans of the Greek converts. So the Apostles came together and selected seven men to help them. It is this group that tradition has identified as the first deacons.
St. Stephen, whose feast we celebrated on the day after Christmas, is the best known of those first deacons. Many of St. Paul’s letters indicate that women also joined the deaconate as deaconesses. The Vatican is looking right now to see if this order can be re-established. Time will tell. Between the years 200 & 500, deacons assumed more and more responsibility for the care of the poor and sick members of the early church. They developed administration skills in caring for the destitute and some church
historian believe that they may have become bishops!
But as the mission of the church became diluted by the social and political realities of the world of that time, the role of the deacon was assumed by others and the title “deacon” simple referred to a stage in a seminarian’s journey to priestly ordination. So the “transitional deacon” took over for the “permanent deacon”.
In 1967, as part of the sweeping changes of Vatican II, Pope Paul VI brought back the “permanent deaconate” not only to serve God’s suffering people but also to minister in the liturgies and proclaim the
Gospel. Deacons became an official part of the American Church in 1976. As originally constituted in the early church, they were ordained like Bishops and priests but they could be married and usually had employment outside the church itself.
Today’s deacons, like the deacons of the early Church, are placed at a parish or ministry but are officially attached to the bishop. They are permitted by their bishop to administer the Sacrament of
baptism, witness weddings and conduct funeral liturgies and preach at all. They are to proclaim the gospel and are the usual minister of the cup at a Eucharistic service.
At liturgical celebrations, a deacon can be identified by the stole. While a priest’s stole hangs around his neck, a deacon’s stole hangs from the left shoulder, crosses the chest and back and then comes
together and hangs down the right side. At high liturgical celebrations a deacon will wear a “dalmatic”: an ancient vestment comprised of a long front and back panels and wide sleeves made up in the colors of the liturgical season.
Permanent Deacons are usually not paid for their service, but some do have paid jobs in the church. I gladly volunteer my service at Holy Cross. It is my pleasure to serve you! Thank you, Lord for the grace you have given to me to serve you and your people for 15 years. God Bless you all.
Love Deacon Joe
Encouraging Deeper Understanding of Scripture
May 24, 2020
What does faith and religion do for us? Ultimately, they remind us of some truths we conveniently forget: we are created by a loving God, we have imperfections, we sin, we need to be forgiven, we have a mission and a purpose, it’s not just about us, and we hunger for the joy of salvation. These are human truths that are not dependent upon whether we like them. Ignoring them places us on the paths of comfort and satisfaction as we blindly pursue the busyness and superficiality of our empty lives. Instead of pursuing supernatural and lasting pleasure, we choose things that are easier and quicker to obtain: sex, drugs, travel, houses, cars, fame, popularity, self-achievement and satisfaction, physical enjoyment, and the like.
We may also find ourselves falling victim to more negative responses to what life brings us: anger, envy, lust, pride, gluttony, greed, and apathy. Human hearts can become so hardened to the truth that violence becomes the response of first choice. Being a Christian is hard! Yet, as Pope Francis reminds us, the Church needs to be a field hospital that has to be prepared to provide people with the remedy they need. What we need is Jesus Christ. The Church, with all of the glory of the sacraments, exists to help make Christ present and real for us. Once we find Christ, we find joy. Joy is a matter of the heart that is beyond pleasure and happiness. It is not found in some earthly satisfaction, only in Christ.
Once we accept that we are destined to be in Christ, then we will discover eternal life. Namely, “that they should know you, the only true God, and the one whom you sent, Jesus Christ.” It is easy to conveniently forget truth and pursue illusions immediately within our grasp, but at what price? A man celebrating 60 years of marriage remarked that it took so much effort and so many attempts to convince his wife that they were meant to be together. Even his friends told him he was foolish. He easily could have given up and pursued other interests. He chose to persevere and is so grateful that he made that choice because he now has a pearl of great price. Do we see a value in persevering in our faith regardless of the cost? If we don’t take the risk, we could lose more than we know. ©LPi
7th Sunday of Easter: Acts 1:12-14/Ps 27:1, 4, 7-8 / 1 Pt 4:13-16/Jn 17:1-11a
Monday: Acts 19:1-8/Ps 68:2-3ab, 4-5acd, 6-7ab [33a]/ Jn 16:29-33
Tuesday: Acts 20:17-27/Ps 68:10-11, 20-21/Jn 17:1-11a
Wednesday: Acts 20:28-38/Ps 68:29-30, 33-35a, 35bc-36ab [33a]/Jn 17:11b-19
Thursday: Acts 22:30; 23:6-11/Ps 16:1-2a and 5, 7-8, 9-10, 11 /Jn 17:20-26
Friday: Acts 25:13b-21/Ps 103:1-2, 11-12, 19-20ab [19a]/Jn 21:15-19
Saturday: Acts 28:16-20, 30-31/Ps 11:4, 5 and 7 [cf. 7b]/Jn 21:20-25
Pentecost Sunday: Acts 2:1-11/Ps 104:1, 24, 29-30, 31, 34 [cf. 30]/1 Cor 12:3b-7, 12-13/Jn 20:19-23
Sharing the Gospel
Jesus prayed for his friends. He knew they were a special gift from God. Jesus was patient with them. He taught them about God. He cared about his friends and forgave them from his heart. Everything that Jesus did showed what God was like. Be a friend like Jesus. Care for your friends like God does.
God, thank you for my friends. Help me to treat them like you would.
Mission for the Week
The next time you talk to God, pray for each of your friends. Ask your friends to pray for you, too.
Those closest to Jesus in his life gathered together in the immediate aftermath of his resurrection and ascension. What sort of mixed emotions do you think they experienced?
Peter encourages those who suffer for the faith to “glorify God.” When have you experienced this type of redemptive suffering?
At the conclusion of his farewell discourse, Jesus offers a prayer of petition to the Father for his disciples. How do you find Jesus’ words comforting?
God already has the solution.