What is a Deacon?

In plain language, a Deacon is a man who is called to a ministry of service. Like Priests, and Bishops, he receives the Sacrament of Holy Orders. At the same time he is “one among us,” a man who has been called forth to live the Christian life visibly. He is an ordained person living in the lifestyle of the laity.

The Deacon’s service is threefold; service of the Word, service of the altar and service of charity. He usually serves the community in which he lives. Like Bishops and Priests, the Deacon is a member of the clergy, but he has a distinct role. Bishops, aided by Priests, preside over and govern the particular local churches. The role of the Deacon is to be a helper of Bishops and Priests in service to the People of God, proclaiming by his very life the Church’s call to serve the needs of others.

Well over 90 percent of Deacons are married. Thus the typical Deacon attempts to balance three priorities in his life: the responsibility of Husband and father, his job or profession by which he earns a living or supplements retirement income and his ministry as an ordained Deacon. The springboard of service and spirituality for most Deacons is his lifelong commitment to his wife in the Sacrament of Matrimony. A number of Deacons are single men and widowers.