Saint Paul lists numerous kinds of service to which disciples are called in order to build up the Body of Christ: apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, and teachers (Eph 4:12). Some of these ministries are exercised by both the lay faithful and the clergy, others only by the ordained. Since the Second Vatican Council, we have become particularly aware of the universal call to mission – an inseparable aspect of the universal call to holiness – and have seen a marvelous increase in lay ministries as a result.
The Diocese of Camden is richly blessed by the ministry of our priests and the witness of those in consecrated life, just as it is by the ever-increasing role of the lay faithful in the Church’s life. But God never tires of blessing and challenging us. Permanent deacons will add yet another dimension to our witness and service, while supporting the ministries that are already exercised in such fruitful ways. In particular, those deacons who have secular careers and the experience of family life will help to provide ” a greater and more direct presence of Church ministers in the various spheres of the family, work, school etc., in addition to existing pastoral structures.” (Pope Saint John Paul II, General Audience, October 6, 1993).
Married deacons will bring to the Sacrament of Holy Orders the gifts already received and being nurtured through their reception of the Sacrament of Matrimony. Deacons and their wives will be examples of the fidelity and indissolubility in Christian marriage before a world in dire need of such signs. “By facing in a spirit of faith the challenges of married life and the demands of daily living, they strengthen the family life not only of the Church community but of the whole of society.” (Pope Saint John Paul II, Address to the Permanent Deacons of the United States, September 19, 1987).
By its very nature, the ministry of permanent deacons will help all of us to live our baptismal call of building up the Body of Christ.
For more information about serving the Diocese of Camden as a Permanent Deacon, call 856-583-2858.