The name deacon (“diakonos” in Greek) means “servant” or “minister”. In the early church, we read how deacons functioned as such, caring for the needs of the community. But through the centuries that followed, this role as an officially recognized ministry gradually faded away. During the Second Vatican Council however, the diaconate as a permanent order of ministries was restored.
Although they have entered ordained ministry, deacons do not set themselves apart from the rest of the world, but rather live in its midst. They are the neighbor living next door, raising a family, holding down a job, relaxing with friends. They are part of the parish faith community, and it is from the midst of that community that they heard the call to ministry.
As ministers of and to the community, deacons have two primary responsibilities. First, they serve at liturgy to proclaim the Word of God, especially the Gospel. Second, they serve beyond the liturgy, in particular, to work for peace and justice. Throughout our parishes, deacons can be seen serving. They work with seniors, families, singles, men and women and children; anyone in need. They offer compassion to the grieving. They help heal the wounds of divorce. They pray with the ill and the dying. You can find deacons on the city streets helping addicts and the homeless, or out in the country ministering to the rural poor. They go behind bars to help prisoners find hope, and they are advocates for the victims of discrimination. Wherever there is a cry for the presence of Jesus, there are deacons reaching out to help people in his name.
At St. Fabian’s, our deacons proclaim the Gospel, preach, teach, counsel, give religious instruction, and assist at retreats and other renewal programs. During liturgy, the deacon is the people’s representative at God’s table. His liturgical roles encompass baptizing, witnessing marriages, bringing Eucharist to the dying and presiding at funerals and burials.
St. Fabian’s is truly blessed to have among its member’s Deacon Charlie Tipperreiter. With the support of his wife, Janet they have dedicated themselves to particular ministries to which they feel called by God.
Deacon Charlie Tipperreiter and his wife Janet welcome you...
The “Welcome Ministry” is a ministry to greet new parishioners in their homes or apartments. This ministry incorporates blessing the family homes or apartment, blessing each member of the family including pets. We also will bless any article such as medals, rosaries, prayer books, etc. There is also a time of sharing as to what St. Fabian parish has to offer in ministries and organizations, which the family can get involved in, if they choose. We want our new members to feel they really belong to a caring and loving community. The “Welcome Ministry” also incorporates the presence of greeters at the church doors before each Sunday Mass, to welcome those who come to worship together, in the Spirit of our relationship to Jesus, as He would welcome each and every one of us.
Deacon Ron Zielinski along his wife Pam explain...
WHAT BEING A DEACON MEANS TO ME
I guess that you would have to go back to when the first deacons were ordained. The Apostles were filled with the Holy Spirit and started to go about doing the work they were chosen to do. This work they were to do would take them away from their homes and hometowns, and they realized there was a need to have some men there to take care of the widows and orphans.
They had the people look for seven men that were full of the spirit and wisdom to overlook on the duties of distributing of food to those in need. They found the seven and presented them to the Apostles and they laid hand on them to fill them with the Holy Spirit. The seven were then sent out to do God’s work in the world. This is how deacons are ordained today, by the Cardinal laying hands on them. There are no words that can explain the feelings that rush through you at that moment. The closest I can come up with is WOW, God really has a plan for me. I still do not know what it is I am to accomplish, but if it is what God wants me to do it will be good.
The first seven also preached the Gospel to those that would hear. This is still part of what we vow to do today, to proclaim the Gospel of our Lord to all who will hear. Saint Stephen was one of the first chosen and became the first Martyr because he refused to do anything but what he was call to do; proclaim the message of Jesus. What a powerful example to follow as a Deacon.
So, to me, being a Deacon means to go out into the world and find those who are in need and try to bring substance to them and the message of God’s love, not only in word, but in actions.
Part of what we do is to proclaim the Gospel from the Ambo and to assist at Mass, but this should not be our only purpose and probably the least important to us. Not to belittle the role of the deacon at the altar, because this is an important part of who we are, but it can not be the only thing. If a deacon puts all of his energy into these sort of things, and forgets the reason the deaconate was started; to serve those in need, the Deacon has no business at the Altar on Sunday because he is not being faithful to who it is he was called to be. Our purpose is to serve the needy and not our Egos. As a side note, EGO is an interesting word that can be broken down like this:
E - Easing
G - God
O - Out
My daily prayer is that I will not fall into the temptation of the Ego that wants to rule me. I pray that I will be able to get out of the way of God’s plan for me and do what He wants me to do. I pray that I will never forget my role as Deacon is to serve God’s people who are needy. In the times when the first Deacons had hands laid on them the widows and orphans had no one to turn to for help and it is such as these that the Deacon should serve.
I ask that you here at St. Fabian’s will pray for Deacon Kevin and Anita, Deacon Charlie and Jan, and Pam and me as we journey through our ministries. Pray we will always remember why we were called. We are praying for you, all of you, that God will grace you with someone to love and love you back. With that, you will be rich beyond your wildest dreams. God’s peace and love be always with you.
Deacon Kevin O'Donnell & his wife Anita write...
The question of “Why do we have a Deacon at every Mass?” has been brought up several times over the past year. Deacons are not on the altar to be the priest’s “Helpers”. Deacons are ordained to be messengers for the Archbishop, in our case, Cardinal George. They are the liaison between the Church and the people. Here at St. Fabian Parish we are fortunate enough to have three deacons, which enables us to have a deacon present for every liturgy we celebrate.
During the Rite of Ordination the Bishop has the deacon place his hand on the Book of the Gospels saying: “receive the Gospel of Christ whose herald you have become,” thus giving us the primary function of being a deacon; becoming Deacon of the Word. This is why the deacon processes in with the Gospel and later preaches the Good News by reading the Gospel. Once a month, at St. Fabian Parish, we continue our service by not only reading the Gospel but by giving the homily as well. This is our way of sharing our message with the community and continuing to spread the Good News to others.
During ordination we are also given the responsibility of becoming the Deacon of the Altar, sharing the Blood of Christ with the congregation. We do this by assisting the priest in setting the altar for Mass and preparing the water and wine for Consecration. The deacon has an obligation to be the Minister of the Cup.
Deacons are not only a part of the Mass but a part of parish life. So remember, when you see a deacon present at Mass he is there for you, not only to spread the Good News of the Lord, not only to share the Blood of Christ, but to be there for you - the people of God.