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Understanding the Diaconate

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Understanding the Diaconate

Like bishops and priests, deacons are ordained ministers of the Catholic Church and share Christ’s mission and grace. Through their sacramental ordination and various ministries, deacons are called to be a servant in the Church.

From 1962 to 1965, the Second Vatican Council authorized the restoration of the diaconate as a permanent order of ministry and decreed that the diaconate could be opened to mature married men over the age of 35.

The first permanent deacons in the Diocese of Joliet were ordained in 1974. Today, more than 250 deacons serve our diocese in parishes, hospitals, nursing homes, prisons and more.

Characteristics of a Deacon

A deacon is a man deeply attentive to the Scriptures as an ongoing encounter with Jesus. He loves the Church and expresses a willingness to abide by doctrines and morals. He exhibits a desire to evangelize and publicly proclaim his love of Christ and the Church.

A deacon possesses a deep desire to empower the laity in their essential role as heralds of the new evangelization, embedding himself deep within the secular world. He is willing to enter the vital work of defending the Church’s teaching on the sanctity of life and religious liberty. Above all, he has a deep love and reverence for the Holy Eucharist.

Ministries of a Deacon

  • Minister of the Word: deacons proclaim the Gospel, preach and teach in the name of the Church
  • Minister of Sacrament: deacons baptize, lead the faithful in prayer, witness marriages and conduct wake and funeral services
  • Minister of Charity: deacons are leaders in identifying the needs of others

For more information

For more information, contact Karen Wojnarowski at the Diaconate Office: [email protected], 815-221-6174.