Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
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