Identifying the Deacon
The Ministries of the Deacon
The Ministry of Charity (Love and Justice)
The Ministries of Deacons in the Archdiocese of New York
are one of service and charity, of witness and proclaiming the Good News, and of leadership in prayer and liturgy. His ministry is established to reflect the ministry of Christ so that, strengthened and enlightened by the Holy Spirit, he serves and enables others to serve and thus become actively involved in the faith community.
The deacon is committed to the bishop and the local Church through ordination to this permanent and public office of service. As a deacon implements the mission of the parish, he is characterized by openness and responsiveness to a wide variety of needs in keeping with his talents. Because he frequently provides continuity on a parish staff, the deacon's ministry uniquely complements and supports other ministries, both ordained and those entrusted to the laity.
"In the documents of Vatican II and in the two decrees of Pope Paul VI that implemented the council's restoration of the permanent diaconate, several lists of diaconal tasks are given...In these documents and as this ministry has developed in practice, it is possible to distinguish three general areas of diaconal ministry: charity (love and justice), the Word, and Liturgy." The Ratio fundamentalis institutionis diaconorum permanentium (Basic norms for the formation of permanent Deacons) issued by the Congregation for Catholic Education (1998).
The ministry of the deacon is characterized by the exercise of the three munera proper to the ordained ministry, according to the specific perspective of diakonia.
In reference to the munus docendi the deacon is called to proclaim the Scriptures and instruct and exhort the people.
The munus sanctificandi of the deacon is expressed in prayer, in the solemn administration of baptism, in the custody and distribution of the Eucharist, in assisting at and blessing marriages, in presiding at the rites of funeral and burial and in the administration of sacramentals.
Finally, the munus regendi is exercised in dedication of works of charity and assistance and in the direction of communities or sectors of church life, especially as regards charitable activities. This is the ministry most characteristic of the deacon.