“DEACON IN THE CHURCH OF GOD”
A deacon, in catholic tradition, is the first of three orders of ministry that include priests and bishops. Some deacons are vocational, that is, they have no vocation or calling to the other orders. For most however, being a deacon is the first step to becoming a priest and, in some instances, a bishop.
A deacon, from the Greek word diakonos, is a servant. Among the first deacons in the church was Stephen, our Patron Saint, who was set aside to serve the poor, attend to the distribution of people’s givings, and preach the Gospel. In modern times deacons are to “interpret to the Church the needs, concerns, and hopes of the world … [and to] assist the bishop and priests in public worship” (from the ordination service).
On Sundays Clara will routinely read the gospel and set the altar for communion. Through the rest of the week she will share in the pastoral care of the parish as “assistant curate”, one who assists in the “cure”, or care, of souls. She can perform weddings and funerals but not eucharists.
The diaconate is one ministry among many given to baptized Christians. But it is significant in that it is a living reminder in our midst that all ministries are founded on our common call to be servants, serving one another as Christ serves us.