That's right, διακονßα is the big word of the week! Unless your specialty happens to be speaking Greek, you probably will struggle with saying "dee-ak-on-ee'-ah"--or in a more familiar word, deacon (servant/minister). Beyond what we see with our own deacons at Mass, which according to theologian John Chryssavgis is the least of a deacon's responsibilities, what do we know about the order of the diaconate? Our very own son of the parish, Matthew Jordan (and seven others) celebrates his ordination to serve as a transitional deacon this weekend. The diaconate is the first order or office of priestly ministry and is never removed from a person. The Church has always held that the ordained ministry includes “three divinely-established degrees” – those of Bishop, Presbyter, and Deacon. The truth is that if it is difficult to discern the historical roots of the diaconate, it is even more difficult to assign any clearly defined “profile” to deacons. Yet, the diaconate still serves as the introduction and initiation for every person called to the Sacramental Priesthood. Simply put, no one can become a Priest or a Bishop without first being ordained to Deacon. According to our teaching then, this means that the diaconate can be neither overlooked nor undermined for a balanced and comprehensive understanding of the ordained Priesthood. Even though we see deacons serving at the Altar, their primary purpose is to serve the needs of the Church outside of the Mass. Please pray that the vows/promises Matthew enters into this weekend may always shape his heart to faithfully live as a servant/deacon throughout his life.
One of the ways we can all share in the call to serve is to take care of those most in need. As you may or may not know, the St. Vincent de Paul Society of the surrounding parishes take turns working at the Ozanam Center (Akron) giving groceries, clothing, and furniture to those in need. Our Council teams up with another local Church once a month. I recently learned that when St. Francis is scheduled at the Ozanam Center, there have been instances where they’ve actually had to close the furniture center early because not enough helpers were present. Would you be willing to serve by volunteering 2.5 hours at the Ozanam Center on Saturday, November 5? What a great way to share in mercy before or after you offer a Holy Hour of thanksgiving during our Eucharistic Devotions - 40 Hours weekend. (That's right mark those calendars for our parish's biggest weekend run of the year, Nov 4-6).
Pax, Fr. Bline
God Bless Our New Deacons: Peter Bang (for S. Korea), Jacob Bearer, James Cosgrove, Eric Garris, Matthew Jordan (YEAH), Robert McWilliams, Peter Morris, Anthony Simone.