Permanent Diaconate—Vocation of the Diaconate

Turning now to the vocation of the Permanent Diaconate itself, we must remember that, as the third tier of Holy Orders, it was restored to the Church by the Second Vatican Council after nearly 1500 years of slow decline, then absence. Pope Paul VI responded to the recommendations made by the Council to restore the Permanent Diaconate, and established the general norms governing the Diaconate and approved the Rite of Ordination.[1]

In essence, the Order of Deacons was given to the Church under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit so as to serve the People of God and assist them in fulfilling their Baptismal commitment. Just as Jesus came “not to be served, but to serve”,[2] so the Deacon embodies the ideal of every follower of Christ, to be “one who serves”.[3]

The beginnings of the Diaconate can be found in the Acts of the Apostles 6:1-6 where the Apostolic Community selects seven men from among the Baptized, formed in wisdom by the Holy Spirit to serve the needs of the community in practical ways.  In St. Paul’s First Letter to Timothy we read that Deacons “…must be dignified, not deceitful, not addicted to drink, not greedy for sordid gain, holding fast to the mystery of Faith with a clear conscience…Thus those who serve well as Deacons gain good standing and much confidence in their faith in Christ Jesus.


[1] Pope Paul VI, Sacrum Diaconatus Ordinem—General Norms for Restoring the Permanent Diaconate in the Latin Church, June 18, 1967
[2] Mt 20:28
[3] Lk 22:27

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

~ Download the Bishop's Pastoral Letter here


Last Updated

Nov 16, 2017


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