This section will focus on the liturgical and sacramental ministry of the deacon. We aim to look at the theology as well as practical aspects of this ministry. The focus of the material is Latin Rite Catholic deacons and in time we will include material on the deacon in Eastern Catholic Churches.
Roman Rite deacons have an extensive sacramental role as ministers of baptism and the celebration of marriage as well as presiding at the liturgy of Christian burial. Deacons can preside at public celebrations of the Liturgy of the Hours, Liturgy of the Word with Communion, Sunday Celebrations in the Absence of a Priest and other forms of worship such as benediction and adoration of the Blessed Sacrament. In the Roman Rite Mass the deacon has few specific tasks that only he performs, when he is not engaged in the same responses as the people. Like the priest and the congregation he offers the Mass, as part of God's priestly people through Christ in the Holy Spirit, for the peace and salvation of all the world (Eucharistic Prayer III).
Deacons in the Eastern Catholic Churches have an extensive role in the celebration of the Divine Liturgy, frequently in dialogue with the priest presider and the people. They have a limited role in sacramental ministry and other liturgical celebrations.
There are a number of documents in which the liturgical and sacramental ministry of the deacon is outlined. A number of these are provided in the resources section either as links to websites which have the documents or the document is available as a PDF.
Key documents include:
The motu proprio of Paul VI, 1969 Sacrum Diaconatus Ordinem
General Instruction on the Roman Missal (2007) in particular the section on Mass With a Deacon
The General Directory on the Ministry and Life of Permanent Deacons
Australian Catholic Bishops Conference, Guidelines on the Sunday celebration in the Absence of a Priest.
There are several books which deal with the deacon and his liturgical and sacramental ministry.
You can read the articles on this topic by clicking on the PFD link below. Some of these articles are brief one page reflections and some are more extensive. Please think of the environment and print them only if you really need to.
Remember to acknowledge the author if you intend to use them for private study. Respect copyright please.
A Deacon is Not A Minister of the Sacrament of Anointing (89 KB) - Blogs and websites about deacons frequently contain discussions about the sacrament of anointing. This article says why deacons are not ministers of this sacrament and why calls to change this reveal a misunderstanding of the revised rites.
The Liturgical Role of the Deacon in the Triduum (44 KB) - The author outlines the liturgical role of the deacon during the Triduum in the Latin (Roman) Rite Catholic CHurch. Imbedded in the text is a hyperlink to a video clip to help deacon's learn to chant the Exsultet.