In this section you will find a number of articles reflecting on various aspects of diaconal pastoral ministry. You can simply follow the links to each document just click on the PDF downloads below.
The pastoral or charitable ministry of a deacon, as described in the Directory for the Ministry and Life of Permanent Deacons is extremely diverse. There are many possibilities for pastoral ministry exercised by deacons.
Directory 22. The Second Vatican Council synthesized the ministry of deacons in the threefold "diaconia of the liturgy, the word and of charity". In this way diaconal participation through the ordained ministry in the one and triple munus of Christ is expressed. The deacon "is teacher in so far as he preaches and bears witness to the word of God; he sanctifies when he administers the Sacrament of Baptism, the Holy Eucharist and the sacramentals, he participates at the celebration of Holy Mass as a "minister of the Blood", and conserves and distributes the Blessed Eucharist; he is a guide in as much as he animates the community or a section of ecclesial life. Thus deacons assist and serve the bishops and priests who preside at every liturgy, are watchful of doctrine and guide the people of God.
The Directory describes the pastoral ministry of the deacon as most characteristic of diaconal ministry.
Directory 37. In virtue of the Sacrament of Orders, deacons, in communion with the bishop and the diocesan presbyterate, participate in the same pastoral functions, but exercise them differently in serving and assisting the bishop and his priests. Since this participation is brought about by the sacrament, they serve God's people in the name of Christ. For this reason, they exercise it in humility and charity, and, according to the words of St Polycarp, they must always be "merciful, zealous and let them walk according to the truth of the Lord who became servant of all". Their authority, therefore, exercised in hierarchical communion with the bishop and his priests, and required by the same unity of consecration and mission, is a service of charity which seeks to help and foster all members of a particular Church, so that they may participate, in a spirit of communion and according to their proper charisms, in the life and mission of the Church.
Directory 38 Diocesan and parochial works of charity, which are among the primary duties of bishops and priests are entrusted by them, as attested by Tradition, to servants in the ecclesiastical ministry, that is, to deacons.
The liturgical ministry and ministry of the word also need to be present and form one integrated ministry with the pastoral.
Directory 39 The three contexts of the diaconal ministry, depending on circumstances, may absorb, to varying degrees, a large proportion of every deacon's activity. Together, however, they represent a unity in service at the level of divine Revelation: the ministry of the word leads to ministry at the altar, which in turn prompts the transformation of life by the liturgy, resulting in charity. "If we consider the deep spiritual nature of this diaconia, then we shall better appreciate the inter-relationship between the three areas of ministry traditionally associated with the diaconate, that is, the ministry of the word, the ministry of the altar and the ministry of charity. Depending on the circumstances, one or other of these may take on special importance in the individual work of a deacon, but these three ministries are inseparably joined in God's plan for redemption".
The list below indicates just some of the possibilities mentioned in the Directory for the Ministry and Life of Deacons. Sometimes local names or descriptors are used for what Directory suggests and some of these may not be familiar terms for people outside Australia.
Adult faith education
Sacramental preparation, especially Baptism and Marriage
State school RE
Campus Minister in a Catholic School
State School Chaplain
Lay Ecclesial Ministry Formation
Catholics Returning Home program coordinator
Teacher in a Catholic school
Works of charity such as care for the homeless or working with people with disability
Administration in a diocesan office
Marriage and family ministry
Pastoral director of a parish
Diocesan Tribunal, as administrator, auditor, judge
Diocesan Director of Finance
Chaplain in one of the following settings a school, a hospital, military services, police, workplace, shopping centre, ethnic community
Euthanasia (94 KB) - End of life issues and euthanasia sometimes emerge in pastoral work. This article by a highly respected moral theologian and ethicist provides some food for thought on so called 'death with dignity'.
Talking About Discontinuing Treatment (57 KB) - In this presentation to the annual Brisbane Anglican-Roman Catholic Clergy day Dr Ray Campbell, Director of the Queensland Bioethics Centre, considers aspects of end of life issues in relation to decisions about cessation of medical treatment.
Explorations in Pastoral Placement 2:Schools (80 KB) - This article explores some potential ministry placement for deacons using the Directory for the Ministry and Life of Deacons (1998). Creative possibilities in Catholic schools are considered.