Aparecida 206-208: Some Expectations of Deacons

The CELAM bishops have a high regard for their deacons. The bar is set high. First, no lone rangers. These ministers are expected to cultivate ties with companions in ministry, especially other clergy: 

206. Each permanent deacon must carefully cultivate his involvement in the body of deacons, in faithful communion with his bishop and in close unity with the priests and other members of the people of God. When they are at the service of a parish, deacons and priests must seek dialogue and work in communion.

Formation, not (as such) education:

207. They must receive a suitable human, spiritual, doctrinal, and pastoral formation with suitable programs that make provision for the wife and family, when they are married. Their formation will prepare them to fruitfully exercise their ministry in the fields of evangelization, the life of the communities, the liturgy and social action, especially with those most in need, thereby giving witness to Christ-servant alongside the sick, those who suffer, migrants and refugees, the outcast, and victims of violence, and the imprisoned.

Expectations for the present age:

208. The V Conference expects from deacons an evangelical witness and a missionary drive so that they may be apostles in their families, their jobs, their communities, and on the new frontiers of mission. Candidates to the permanent deaconate should not be given expectations that go beyond the proper nature of the deaconate level.

The bishops suggest the diaconate is an apostolic ministry. What does that mean? They  inherit a mantle of Peter and his companions. They do so in the context of their homes and neighborhoods as well as in the workplace. What are these new frontiers of mission? Deacons can inform themselves and seek out training for the revival of ministries of disciple-making and drawing people closer to Christ.

For deeper examination, an English translation of the 2007 document from the Aparecida Conference.

About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in the Pacific Northwest, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
This entry was posted in 2007 Aparecida document, bishops, evangelization and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

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