WHO IS A DEACON?
A deacon is an ordained minister of the Catholic Church. There are three groups, or "orders," of ordained ministers in the Church: bishops, presbyters and deacons. Deacons are ordained as a sacramental sign to the Church and to the world of Christ, who came "to serve and not to be served."
The entire Church is called by Christ to serve, and the deacon, in virtue of his sacramental ordination and through his various ministries, is to be a servant in a servant-Church.
WHAT ARE THESE "VARIOUS MINISTRIES" OF THE DEACON?
All ordained ministers in the Church are called to functions of word, sacrament and charity, but bishops, presbyters and deacons exercise these functions in various ways.
As ministers of word, deacons proclaim the Gospel, preach and teach in the name of the Church.
As ministers of sacrament, deacons baptize, lead the faithful in prayer, witness marriages and conduct wake and funeral services
As ministers of charity, deacons are leaders in identifying the needs of others, then marshaling the Church's resources to meet those needs. Deacons are also dedicated to eliminating the injustices or inequities that cause such needs.
But no matter what specific functions a deacon performs, they flow from his sacramental identity.
WHY DO SOME DEACONS BECOME PRIESTS?
For many years ordained ministers "ascended" from one office to another, culminating in ordination to the presbyterate, or priesthood. The Second Vatican Council, however, authorized the restoration of the diaconate as a permanent order of ministry. So, while students for the priesthood are still ordained deacons prior to their ordination as priests, there are more than 13,000 deacons in the United States alone who minister in this order permanently.
There is no difference in the sacramental sign or the functions between these so-called "transitional" and "permanent deacons."
MAY MARRIED MEN BE ORDAINED DEACONS?
Yes. The Second Vatican Council decreed that the diaconate, when it was restored as a permanent order in the hierarchy, could be opened to "mature married men," later clarified to mean men over the age of 35. This is in keeping with the ancient tradition of the Church in which married men were ordained into ministry. Also in keeping with ancient practice is the expectation that while a married man may be ordained, an ordained man, if his wife should die, may not marry again without special permission.
Also, during the celebration of Mass, the deacon, wearing sacred vestments, assists the priest; ministers the chalice or the Roman Missal at the altar; proclaims the Gospel and, at the request of the priest celebrant, may preach the homily; gives timely directions to the faithful and announces the intentions in the Universal Prayer; assists the priest celebrant in distributing Communion, especially as minister of the Precious Blood; and cleanses and arranges the sacred vessels.
Permanent deacons are required to include as part of their daily prayer those parts of the Liturgy of the Hours known as Morning and Evening Prayer. They are obliged to pray for the universal Church, and when possible, they should lead these prayers with the community to whom they have been assigned to minister.
In accord with Canon Law, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops established the minimum age for ordination to the permanent diaconate at 35 for all candidates, married or celibate.
Many permanent deacons have jobs outside of the ministry in such areas as business, education, technology and health care.
DEACONS SERVING WITHIN THE DIOCESE
Deacon Richard Anderberg Our Lady of the Valley, Townshend
Deacon David Baker Corpus Christi, St. Johnsbury
Deacon David Bisson St. Monica, Barre
Deacon John Blicharz All Saints Parish, Charlestown, NH
Deacon Walter Brenneman St. Augustine, Montpelier
Deacon Peter Brooks St. Thomas, Underhill Deacon Clifford Chagnon All Saints, Richford
Deacon Thomas Cooney Holy Cross, Morrisville
Deacon Regis Cummings St. Augustine, Montpelier
Deacon Roger Currier Holy Cross, Morrisville
Deacon Raymond Desilets Corpus Christi, St. Johnsbury
Deacon Jerome Driscoll Chapel of the Snows, Stratton
Deacon Gabriel Gagne St. Mary, St. Albans
Deacon Paul Garrow St. Ann, Milton
Deacon Timothy Gibbo St. Mark, Burlington
Deacon William Glinka St. John Vianney, So. Burlington
Deacon John Gratton St. Benedict Labre, West Charleston
Deacon John Guarino St. Anthony, White River Junction
Deacon Peter Gummere Corpus Christi, St. Johnsbury
Deacon Joseph Lane St. John Vianney, So. Burlington
Deacon Duane Langlois Holy Angels, St. Albans
Deacon Gabriel Liegey Holy Angels, St. Albans
Deacon Bernier Mayo Corpus Christi, St. Johnsbury
Deacon Jerome Driscoll Chapel of the Snows, Stratton
Deacon Louis Meunier St. Anthony/Christ the King, Burlington
Deacon Vincent Meyers St. Raphael, Poultney
Deacon Dennis Moore Ascension, Georgia
Deacon Robert Moran St. Ann, Milton
Deacon Francis Nolan St. Edward, Derby Line
Deacon David O'Brien St. John the Baptist, No. Bennington
Deacon Robert Paolucci St. Peter, Rutland
Deacon John Place St. Francis Xavier, Winooski
Deacon Anthony Previti St. John Vianney, So. Burlington
Deacon Daniel Pudvah St. Monica, Barre
Deacon Stephen Ratte St. Luke, Fairfax
Deacon Gesualdo Schneider St. Augustine, Montpelier
Deacon Gerald Scilla St. Pius X, Essex Center
Deacon Alfred Toborg Corpus Christi, St. Johnsbury