Mature men of good health, active in parish life and informed in their Catholic faith: open to personal, spiritual, theological and ministerial formation over at least four years
An ordained deacon will be appointed to one parish and may be asked to prepare parents and candidates for Baptism, couples for marriage and conduct funerals. As servants of the Word of God they will proclaim the Gospel in the liturgy, preach the homily, pray the prayer of the faithful and participate in sacramental programs. As servants of charity ordained deacons can be chaplains in hospitals, prisons, universities, armed services and visit the sick.
Suitable applicants will be required to complete
a tertiary degree in theology as well as participate in regular formation
sessions offered through the Archdiocese of Melbourne over the four or more
years of study. Deacons must also be willing to take part in formation and
mentoring opportunities after ordination.
If unmarried, men must be at least 25 years of age when they are accepted and no more than age 60 at time of ordination.
If married, at least 35 years of age, married for at least seven years and be no more than age 60 at time of ordination. Applicants must also have the full support of their spouse and family, and their parish priest.
No, at this time
according to the universal church women are not ordained to the diaconate.
research is clear that deaconesses were present, particularly in the Eastern
rites, for several centuries. The International Theological Commission, in its
research document on the diaconate (2003), noted that "The deaconesses ...
were not purely and simply equivalent to the deacons; ... The Unity of the
sacrament of Holy Orders, ... is strongly underlined by ecclesial tradition,
... it pertains to the ministry of discernment which the Lord established in
his Church to pronounce authoritatively on this question."
The idea to renew the diaconate came from many parts of the world during
the preparation periods. The bishops at the Council did not see it as a
solution to a shortage of priests, but as a way to show clearly the fullness of
the ordained ministry of deacon, priest and bishop which exists to represent
Christ and to serve the life of the Church. A major impetus was the realization
that the horrors of the Second World War called for a renewal of the Church’s
mission, a renewal that must include the ordained ministry of the diaconate.
While there are many things that deacons may do that can assist in the
pastoral care of the church, they are not substitutes for priests. The policy
in our Archdiocese is that a priest will be the canonically appointed leader of
There is a maxim that says, “Grace builds on nature”. In many cases, a
person’s diaconal qualities have been observed and experienced by friends,
family and members of his parish community; in these cases, it is often some of
these people, or the local priest, who suggest to a man that he ought to
consider the possibility of the diaconate. Perhaps a man has become interested
in the diaconate because of his own experience with deacons or through
something he has read. In every case, this vocation is a share in the
evangelization for which the bishop is responsible. He calls the deacon,
confers the Spirit upon him in diaconal ordination, and appoints him to the
canonical office where he will serve.
No married man may be ordained without the freely given consent of his wife
and, naturally, the parents would take into account the welfare of their
Very carefully! Most married people
already understand the importance of balance in their own family and work
relationships. Becoming a deacon adds another set of relationships into the
equation. It is never a question of one set of relationships being more
important than another is. All of them are critical, and sometimes one
relationship takes precedence over another.
The time commitment is flexible but
usually 6-8 hours a week
Older deacons in early retirement would provide for themselves and
their families from their own sources. The majority of permanent deacons would
be part-time ministers funded from their own sources.
Certain study costs will be covered during the initial
formation program. It is expected that parishes will reimburse the deacon for
costs incurred in the performance of their ministry.
No, a deacon is not ordained to the priesthood. In the absence of a
priest the deacon may preside over the community’s prayer; in fact the deacon
is the logical person to do so.
Yes, a parish can have more than one.