The Diocese of Parramatta currently has 10 men in formation to become deacons.
These married men are seeking to become ‘permanent’ deacons, as compared to those on the path to priesthood who become ‘transitional’ deacons.
As the men progress towards ordination they must be instituted to the ministries of Acolyte and Lector.
An acolyte assists the deacon and the priest in liturgical celebrations, especially the Mass. They can distribute holy communion as an extraordinary minister if required.
The role of the lector is to carry the book of the Gospels in the entrance procession, and to read the readings that precede the Gospel.
Bishop Vincent Long OFM Conv, Bishop of Parramatta, instituted two men as Acolytes and five as Lectors at a Mass he celebrated during the recent Diaconate formation retreat weekend at St Joseph’s, Baulkham Hills.
Instituted as Acolytes were David Dowling and Charles Hyson.
Instituted as Lectors were Charles Abela, Batsirai Maringehosi, David Dowling, Jerome D’Rozario and Alan Skofic.
Director for Formation for the diaconate in the Diocese of Parramatta, Deacon Tony Hoban, said this was an important step for these men.
“These ministries are representations of two of the three dimensions of a deacon’s vocation: liturgy, word and service,” Deacon Tony said.
“So the institution of these men in these ministries is another step on their journey as they, and those responsible for their formation, continue to discern their suitability for ordination.”
Bishop Vincent’s warm support for the diaconate sees the diaconate growing in strength in the Diocese of Parramatta.
“I’m not aware of any other Diocese in Australia which has as many men in formation for the Permanent Diaconate as in our diocese,” Deacon Tony said.
“And I’m also not aware that other dioceses undertake formation quite like we do.
“For example, the support of the wives of the men in formation has long been a hallmark of how the Diocese of Parramatta undertakes diaconate formation.
“One of our formation panel members, Ann O’Connor, has the specific role of supporting the wives.
“I know that this is greatly appreciated by the wives of the men in formation because while they journey with their husbands on the formation path, they can face quite different issues.
“While the ordination of women as deacons is not yet possible in our Church, our married deacons could not do what they do without the support of their wives.”
Another important event for the diaconate in the Diocese of Parramatta comes in October next year when we will host the National Association of Deacons Conference, also at St Joseph’s Baulkham Hills.
Up to 100 members of the diaconate community from around Australia (deacons, wives, and those in formation and their wives) are expected to attend this event from Thursday, October 13 through to Sunday, October 16, 2022.
For more information about the 2022 National Deacons Conference, contact email@example.com.
For more information about the permanent diaconate in the Diocese of Parramatta, please visit: www.parracatholic.org/permanent-diaconate