Last Updated: Tuesday - 01/04/2011
February 25, 2001
Collins to advance deacons proposal
Permanent diaconate won't replace lay ministries, he says
WESTERN CATHOLIC REPORTER
EDMONTON — Archbishop Thomas Collins hopes to set up a committee later this year to oversee establishment of the permanent diaconate in the Edmonton Archdiocese.
The archbishop told the Archdiocesan Pastoral Council Feb. 17 that he has already received applications from men eager to become permanent deacons. But while Collins wants to have permanent deacons in the archdiocese, he is in no rush to get this form of ordained ministry established.
"I would see very few deacons, at least at the start," he told the APC.
And he is committed to ensuring that deacons not replace lay people in the ministries they are performing. "If it's suppressing some other vocation then it's being done wrong."
Deacons can perform a wide variety of liturgical roles such as assisting at Mass, preaching, performing Baptisms, and presiding at weddings and funerals. But "deacon" means "servant," and the main emphasis must be on the deacon's role of service, he said.
"It must be first a ministry of service to the community and secondly a liturgical role. If that is reversed, it doesn't work out."
For a married deacon, his family must come first, his job second and the diaconate third, the archbishop said.
The point is not that the deacon can do something no one else is doing, but rather that the deacon is configured "to Christ as servant through the sacrament of Orders," Collins said.
While the archbishop emphasized the deacon's role as servant, when he left the meeting to attend another engagement, the discussion quickly shifted to the liturgical functions a deacon might perform.
"It's too easy to turn it into a liturgical role. Too easy," said Father Len Cadieux, rector of St. Joseph's Basilica.
Cadieux said he was previously opposed to the permanent diaconate, but now believes it has a role if the priority of service over the liturgy is maintained in the deacon's life. "If this is met, they can be a real asset to the Church."
Father Jozef Wroblewski of Fort Saskatchewan said he fears that once the diaconate is implemented, there will be a call to use the deacons mainly to perform weddings and funerals.
The man entering the diaconate must do so out of love, Wroblewski said, "not because this is the fifth degree of the Knights of Columbus."
"It's not for the glamour of celebrating; it's for the service you provide."
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