Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
I am happy to announce today that, in line with the discipline of the Universal Church, the ministry of the Permanent Diaconate will be introduced in the Archdiocese of Melbourne.
Church tradition views as the first deacons the seven men chosen by the twelve apostles to assist them in their work of proclaiming the Good News in the rapidly growing church of Jerusalem (Acts 6: 1-6).
St Stephen, the first martyr, St Laurence and St Francis of Assisi are some of the deacons in successive ages of the Church.
Over time, the diaconate became the final step in the training of priests.
The Eastern Churches retained the traditional structure of the Sacrament of Order. That is, as well as bishops and priests, they continued to ordain permanent deacons.
In 1972, Pope Paul VI restored the diaconate, open to married and unmarried men, as a permanent rank within the Sacrament of Holy Orders.
In doing so, the Church renewed its mission of preaching, worship and service to the community.
Please join me in praying that the diaconate will bring rich blessings to our local church.
15th April 2007
ARCHBISHOP OF MELBOURNE
Download brochure on the Permamnent Diaconate