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Catholic Dictionary




A man specially ordained to the service of the Church's ministry. In the ordination of deacons the "matter" is the imposition of a bishop's hands on individual candidates, which is done before the consecratory prayer; the "form" consists of the words of the consecratory prayer, of which the following pertain to the essence of the order and therefore are required for the validity of the act: "Lord, we pray, send forth upon them the Holy Spirit so that by the grace of your seven gifts they may be strengthened by Him to carry out faithfully the work of the ministry." The role of deacons is to assist priests in preaching, the conferral of baptism, performance of marriage, the administration of parishes, and similar duties. (Etym. Latin diaconus; from Greek diakonos, a servant, a deacon.)