A deacon is ordained and has a mission to minister to the needy and the poor and to be a minister of Word and Sacrament, working in obedience to his bishop and in close fraternal cooperation with priests. While all Christians are called to serve others, the deacon through his consecration at ordination is configured to Christ in a unique and particular way: as servant of all in a servant Church.
Because more than 90% of permanent deacons are married, the deacon is sometimes described as a bridge between the laity, from whose ranks he comes, and the ordained, of which his three-fold ministry of service is word, sacrament, and service. However, although he is ordained and thus has certain liturgical privileges, it is important to note that he is not a priest and thus does not have the rite of celebrating Mass, absolving sins, or anointing the sick.
As a unique sign and instrument of Jesus Christ, our servant lord, the deacon can often be found ministering to sick, immigrants, children, the aged, single parents, the handicapped, the divorced, substance abusers, the homeless, prisoners, the poor, and families. In a liturgical context, he can proclaim the Gospel, preach, and assist with the preparation of the altar and the distribution of Holy Communion upon delegation from the pastor. The deacon may preside at baptisms, prepare couples and witness their vows of matrimony, officiate at funerals, and guide and administer the community when there is not a priest available. In summary, he is charged with promoting and sustaining the apostolic activities of the lay faithful, inspiring them to become servants within the Church.
To learn more about the Permanent Diaconate and/or the Diocese of Tulsa Permanent Deacon formation program, contact Msgr. Patrick Brankin, Vicar for Deacons at (918) 294-1904, Ext. 124 or firstname.lastname@example.org.