Permanent Diaconate

“Those who serve well as Deacons gain good standing and much confidence in their faith in Christ Jesus…(they) must hold fast to the mystery of faith with a clear conscience.” [1]

The Pastoral Epistles of St. Paul are not only of great historical interest in relation to the Early Church, but like all Scripture, they reveal the Word of the Holy Spirit in which we can hear the voice of the Lord himself and perceive his abiding presence in the Church. These short and perceptive letters, addressed to Timothy and Titus, two of St. Paul’s disciples and close collaborators, reveal to us not only the inner life of the first generation Church but connect us to the Church as it is lived today in the Third Millennium.

Initially these Pastoral Epistles were written by Paul to encourage and affirm his collaborators in their ordained ministry and to strengthen the primitive Church against certain erroneous and false doctrines which had arisen within the early Christian community.[2]  We can see in this, a similar situation with our own day and Paul’s insistence that Sacred Scripture be accepted as truly inspired by and proceeding from the Holy Spirit is most helpful in the New Evangelization of today.[3]  Paul refers to the good deposit of Faith handed down by the Apostles, which must be safeguarded with the help of the Holy Spirit dwelling within us.[4]  There can be no doubt that these brief Letters from Paul to Timothy and Titus, in spite of their down to earth and practical application to Church life, are also very universal in scope.  God is described as the Lord who desires all to be saved and to come to the knowledge of truth.[5]

It is within these Pastoral Epistles that we learn of the role of Holy Orders in meeting the threats to Faith in the early Church and for the first time in Scripture the threefold orders of Bishop, Priest and Deacon are presented to us as a pastoral and administrative structure rooted in the ministry of the Apostles as witnesses to the Resurrected Lord and proclaimers of the Good News. Just as Paul presents the basic elements of Catholic belief, namely Scripture and Tradition, as a doctrinal unity, so too the threefold orders of Bishop, Priest and Deacon are presented as a unified pastoral ministry.

It is within this sense of unity in Holy Orders that I wish to address the need in these days to activate the Permanent Diaconate within our Diocese. This third order within Holy Orders will open up further possibilities of pastoral service within our local Church.

 

[1] Cf 1 Timothy 3:9-13
[2] 2 Tim 1:6-8
[3] 2 Tim 3:14-17
[4] 2 Tim 1:14
[5] 1 Tim 2:4


For more information about the Permanent Diaconate Program, please contact the Pastoral Centre at (250) 479-1331 or email chancery@rcdvictoria.org.

~ Download the Bishop's Pastoral Letter here


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Last Updated

Apr 3, 2017

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