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Deacons (Diaconate) | What You Need to Know

Since Pope Paul VI restored the permanent diaconate in 1967, there has been considerable confusion among the faithful about what deacons are and what they are called to do.

A concise overview of the ministry of the deacon which takes this confusion into account is therefore the best place to begin. Here we learn that deacons are ordained to a threefold ministry of service for Word, altar and charity.

In 1993, John Paul II addressed the full assembly of the Congregation of the Clergy while it was considering the ministry and life of permanent deacons. This address also highlights the key aspects of the deacon's identity and ministry.

In 1998, the Congregation for the Clergy ultimately issued its comprehensive document on the subject, which is the gold standard for understanding the diaconate.

Essential Perspective

  1. Making Sense of the Ministry of the Deacon
  2. John Paul II: Deacons Are Configured to Christ the Servant
  3. Directory for the Ministry and Life of Permanent Deacons

Extra Reading

Many related areas could be explored. For example, at the same time as the Directory for the Ministry and Life of Permanent Deacons, the Congregation for the Clergy also released the Basic Norms for the Formation of Permanent Deacons.

The document issued by Paul VI when he restored the permanent diaconate is Restoring the Permanent Diaconate (Sacrum Diaconatus Ordinem).

We know of two good web sites which support permanent deacons and their families with a wealth of materials and discussion forums: Deacons' Domain and Deacon's Place.