by Clyde Ericson Nolasco
We might be seeing an ordination to permanent diaconate here in the Philippines very soon!
In a letter dated August 17, 2023, Archbishop Edgar Peña Parra, Substitute for General Affairs of the Secretariat of State of the Vatican, wrote a response to the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines petition to establish the ministry of the Permanent Diaconate in the country.
The world's 97% of permanent deacons are found in the Americas and Europe according to L’Osservatore Romano. | Photo from the Diocese of Charlotte
The archbishop happily informed Bishop Pablo Virgilio David, President of the CBCP, that the Holy Father has granted the petition and the CBCP is now requested to communicate with the Discatery for the Clergy regarding the establishment of the ministry.
You may read the full text of the letter below:
But first, what is a deacon?
Deacons have been around since the early Church and are even referenced in the Acts of the Apostles.
In the Acts of the Apostles, St. Lawrence was mentioned as one of the seven deacons who was in charge of the widows in the early Church in Jerusalem. Filled with the Holy Spirit, his eloquence triggered the persecutors of the Early Church to stone him to death. He is considered the first martyr of the Church whose feast day we celebrate every December 26.
There are two different types of deacons:
First is the transitional deacon. This is the most common type of deacon and is typically a man on the way to the priesthood.
The second type of deacon is the permanent deacon. This deacon will not become a priest and will remain a deacon for the rest of his life.
Requirements for Permanent Deacon
Here are some basic requirements for one to be a candidate for Permanent Deacon:
At least a 35 years old man.
A practicing Catholic and a baptized member for at least 5 years.
One can be married but must be valid or annulled. However, cannot be married again after ordination to the diaconate.
The wife must be interviewed and express consent to the ordination. A married man cannot be ordained without wife’s approval.
In good physical health.
One must be financially stable
One must pass all the psychological exams and background checks.
Though these may vary depending on the local diocese.
Remember that permanent diaconate is a ministry of service focused on the material needs of the church. They may also assist in the liturgy through acting as an ordinary minister of holy communion, preaching the Good News and officiating baptisms, weddings and funerals held outside the celebration of the Mass. Married men may apply as Permanent Deacons.
Let us pray that this ministry be established here in the Philippines very soon!