I Have Given You an Example. The Permanent Diaconate In the Archdiocese of Dublin. Going to the Source.
The Permanent Diaconate
Archdiocese of Dublin
During supper, Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands, and that he had come from God and was going to God, got up from the table, took off his outer robe, and tied a towel around himself. Then he poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples’ feet and to wipe them with the towel that was tied around him. He came to Simon Peter, who said to him, “Lord, are you going to wash my feet?” Jesus answered, “You do not know now what I am doing, but later you will understand.” Peter said to him, “You will never wash my feet.”
Jesus answered, “Unless I wash you, you have no share with me.” Simon Peter said to him, “Lord, not my feet only but also my hands and my head!” Jesus said to him, “One who has bathed does not need to wash, except for the feet, but is entirely clean. And you are clean, though not all of you.” For he knew who was to betray him; for this reason he said, “Not all of you are clean.” After he had washed their feet, had put on his robe, and had returned to the table, he said to them, “Do you know what I have done to you? You call me Teacher and Lord—and you are right, for that is what I am. So if I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have givenyou an example, that you also should do as I have done to you.
The key document is the 2006 National Directory and Norms, which is based on the two Roman documents of 1998.
From the outset, the 1998 documents identify the diaconate as:
Permanent deacons are frequently referred to, incorrectly, as “lay deacons.”
The restoration of the permanent Diaconate was in no manner intended to prejudice the meaning, role or flourishing of the ministerial priesthood, which must always be fostered because of its indispensability.
(Basic Norms and Directory,Joint Introduction)
Three reasons lay behind the decision to restore the permanent diaconate as a distinct ministry:
a desire to enrich the Church with the functions of the diaconate, which otherwise, in many regions, could only be exercised with great difficulty;
the intention of strengthening with the grace of diaconal ordination those who already exercised many of the functions of the Diaconate;
a concern to provide regions, where there was a shortage of clergy, with sacred ministers.
The lay faithful, by virtue of their Baptism, are commissioned to an active apostolate and “every opportunity be given them so that, according to their abilities and the needs of the times, they may zealously participate in the saving work of the Church.” Lumen Gentium
The active role of the lay-faithful in the future of our diocese is not, therefore, negotiable.
Archbishop Diarmuid Martin
Acceptance of the applicant depends on PP’s recommendation because he will have a key role in
Providing an opportunity for coherent pastoral activity
Supervising pastoral activity in the formation period
Working with the deacon after ordination and
helping him to integrate his ministry into the broader pastoral activity of the parish
Roles analogous to PP
Role of Diocesan Director
If the PP is happy to recommend the applicant
He refers him to the diocesan director
Diocesan director will meet him to explore further
Will meet his wife and family (if applicable)
Will carry out the initial gathering of documents
Will work with applicant and PP towards a decision about entrance to the propaedeutic (pre-formation) programme
Will, if accepted, be his point of reference during that programme,Application and Discernment
National Directory and Norms # 38-44; Practical Questions # 6
Weekend One: Focus on the Call to Ministry
Weekend Two: Ministry and Marriage.
Weekend Three: Prayer and Spiritual Direction.
Weekend Four: Personal Awareness and Development.
Weekend Five: Interview.
Directory and Norms. # 27-28
Practical Questions # 5
cf. Enquiries and Applications for
Admission into Formation (2005)
Age: 35-60 (married) or 25-60 (celibate)
60 is the upper age for ordination
Familiarity with the gospel
Well founded spirituality and sacramental life
Capacity to read and listen intelligently and critically
Capacity to engage and work constructively with others
Significant level of personal freedom
Absence of significant compulsions and addictions
Love of the Church
Proven readiness to serve others, even at some personal costSelection of Candidates
Three Year Formation Period
The same four areas as in Pastores Dabo Vobis
Courses of formation to be approved by the National Accreditation Body
“Not less than 1,000 hours” of lectures and seminars.
(This implies fitting the equivalent of a full time degree programme into a part time formation. How to manage this?)
Candidates who have already completed programmes
Academic standard and completeness
Orientation towards ministry
On-going formationFormation Programme
National Directory and Norms # 45-60; Practical Questions # 6
(Cf. National Directory and Norms # 31-33; Practical Questions # 7)
Liturgical admission to candidacy
Cf. National Directory and Norms #61-68; Practical Questions # 8-9
Configuration with Christ
icon of Christ the Servant
Ministry(flows from identity)
Assisting at the altar
Bringing the Eucharist to the sick
Formation of altar servers and eucharistic ministers
Baptism & Marriage
Proclaiming the Gospel
Facilitating study and prayer with the Scriptures
Formation of readers
Charity(extension of Eucharistic ministry)
Visiting the sick, prisoners & the bereaved
Promoting awareness of Catholic Social Teaching
Promoting justice & human rights
Administration of Church propertyIdentity and MinistryWho the deacon is & what he will do
The ministry of the deacon is to be integrated with, and not to replace other forms of ministry
(National Directory and Norms #21 ff & Practical Questions # 12)
A deacon at all times and in every situation
Cf. Practical Questions # 18
Must be practically and morally consistent with the exercise of diaconal ministry
Cf. National Directory and Norms 34ff; Practical Questions #10-11