From the very earliest days of the church deacons held a special place in the Christian Community, set apart along with bishops and priests for a special role modelled on that of Christ himself. ‘Deacon’ comes from the Greek word diakonos which means a servant or helper. In particular, deacons came to be considered helpers of the bishop, responsible for the community’s day to day material and spiritual well-being.Those studying for the priesthood are ordained deacon as a step towards the priesthood (transitional deacons). The permanent diaconate was restored in the 1960s and those ordained as permanent deacons have a ministry in today’s Church that is far reaching. Working under their bishop and alongside the parish priest, they serve the Church through the celebration of baptism and marriage, by preaching and by helping the most vulnerable members of the community.
Applying to become a permanent deacon is not like applying for a secular job or profession, but involves you and the Church, particularly your bishop, discerning whether or not God is calling you to serve His Church as a deacon. As you can imagine this process of discernment takes time, and commitment on both sides.