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The Ministry of Charity (Love and Justice)

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

"From its beginning, and particularly during the first centuries, the diaconate has been primarily a ministry of love and justice.  The early metaphorical description of the deacons as "the eyes and ears, the mouth, heart, and soul of the bishop" referred to the duty of the deacon to identify the needy, to report their needs to the bishop and the Church, and to direct the Church's loving service of them...In our own day, Pope Paul VI has spoken of the deacon as being  "the interpreter of the needs and desires of the Christian communities, the animator and promoter of the Church's service or diaconia in local Christian communities, and as a sign or sacrament of the Lord Christ himself, who 'came not to be served but to serve.'...It is a sign of the health of the diaconate in this country that so many new initiatives have been undertaken to bring Jesus Christ's healing and comforting Word and power to the physically, economically, and spiritually needy of our day."

"As by ordination, particularly and officially committed to service, the deacon is to inspire, promote and help coordinate the service that the whole Church must undertake in imitation of Christ.  He has a special responsibility to identify to the Church those who are in need and particularly those who are without power or voice at the margins of our society...But in the Church, he is also to speak about the needy, to articulate their needs, and to inspire and mobilize the whole community's response.  He thus becomes a representative figure in whom the Church reaches out to the needy and the needy challenge the Church."

"This ministry of love is also a ministry of justice that aims not only at meeting immediate needs but also at addressing their structural and institutional causes.  Action on behalf of social justice is thus an integral part of the deacon's ministry of love."

The Ministry of the Word of God [munus docendi]

"The deacon's Ministry of the Word includes proclaiming the Gospel at the liturgy, preaching, catechetical instruction, and other forms of teaching, counseling, instruction of catechumens, giving retreats, outreach to alienated Catholics, parish renewal programs, etc.  Deacons who have secular occupations also are able to witness to the Gospel in the marketplace, where they meet the demands of their work both as committed Catholics and as ordained ministers and use the opportunities their work provides to bring the Gospel to bear on the concrete circumstances of everyday individual and social life."


The Ministry of the Altar [munus sanctificandi]


"...To the Church gathered in worship, the deacon both brings the gifts of the people and articulates their needs.  At the eucharistic assembly, the deacon assists the community in its worship and helps to minister the great mystery of Jesus Christ's redemptive gift of himself in Word and Sacrament."