Deacons are in a special position to bring the needs
and concerns of those in the work-a-day world to their local Christian community,
its priest and the bishop, but also to bring Christ and his Church to those
people with whom he lives and works.
With the exception of celebrating Mass, absolving sins and anointing the sick,
all of which are reserved to priests, deacons are given authority by the bishop,
with consent of the pastors with whom they minister, for a full range of liturgical
functions which sometimes may appear indistinguishable from those of the priests.
However, the primary task of the deacon is to be a promoter and motivator
of the laity to become increasingly involved in the mission of the Church
The deacon also solemnly baptises, brings Viaticum to the dying, is an official
witness of the Church at marriages, officiates at funerals and burial services,
gives Benediction with the monstrance or ciborium, and guides and administers
the community when no priest is resident.
There are liturgical activities which include proclaiming
the Gospel, preaching, voicing the needs of the people in the general intercessions,
assisting in the presentation of the gifts and distribution of communion.
More than 90 per cent of permanent deacons throughout the world are married,
and through marriage they bring the experience and mutual sacrificial love
of marriage to the service of the Church.
Role of Permanent Deacons
As an ordained minister, the permanent deacon becomes
for the community a unique sign and instrument of what Jesus Christ is for
the Church, and of what the Church must be for the sake of Christ - a servant.
Permanent deacons can be found ministering to sick, among widows and orphans,
serving immigrants and exiles, serving abused children, the aged, single
parents, the handicapped, the divorced, alcohol and drug addicts, the homeless,
prisoners, refugees, the poor, the street people, victims of racial and
ethnic discrimination, etc.