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.
Deacon Joe Stalcup along his wife Linda…
I am very pleased to be here at St. Fabian. I am married to the talented and beautiful Linda. We have one son, Brian who is married and has one 10-year-old son whose name is Luke. We had another son, Joseph who passed away 8 years ago from Kidney disease. I also have Kidney Disease which runs in my family. Linda and I met at a college dance. Linda is from the Southeast side of Chicago and I was born and baptized at Five Holy Martyrs in Brighton Park. My family moved to Clearing when I was 7 years old and I graduated from St. Symphorosa School. I graduated from Lindblom High School and earned a degree in Management from U.I.C. in Chicago. I worked for Procter and Gamble for 28 years as a sales represen- tative and later as a sales manager. Since I retired I have focused my time on my wife, family and Diacon- ate ministry.
I was ordained in 1994 by Cardinal Bernardin at Holy Name Cathedral. My first diaconate assignment was at St. George Parish in Tinley Park where I ministered for 5 years. In 1999 a new parish was announced and after some prayerful discernment I offered to help establish St. Stephen Parish. I ministered there for 19 years until the present. I had the privilege of establishing many ministries. I focused my time on presenting and promoting the Spirituality of Stewardship which Fr. Greg has asked me to present here at St. Fabian. Stewardship Spirituality focuses on the recognition that all the talents and gifts we have come from God and God calls us to share those Talents and gifts with those around us. Please watch for bulletin and website articles, homilies, ministry fairs and more about the Spirituality of Stewardship to help all of us to be even better disciples of Christ.
I look forward to meeting you and journeying with you on our journey of faith.
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 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 & Anita O’Donnell have returned to St. Fabian Parish as of August 1, 2022.
Deacon Kevin’s family was a founding member of St. Fabian and have been at the parish since 1967. Deacon Kevin and Anita grew up within the parish were married at St Fabian’s in July of 1983. They have two children; Fr. Matthew O’Donnell and Andrew O’Donnell, who also grew up within the parish, went through the Religious Education Program and received all of their sacraments at St. Fabian’s. Deacon Kevin was ordained a Permanent Deacon for the Archdiocese of Chicago in May of 2006 and Anita received her Lay Ministry Certificate.
Deacon Kevin’s is a St. Jude Chaplin for the Chicago Police Department. He is also a licensed funeral director, for over 40 years, and works part time at a local funeral home in Summit.
As part of Deacon Kevin’s ministry at St. Fabian’s Parish he assists couples in preparing for the sacrament of Matrimony, he is an 8th grade coordinator for students preparing for Confirmation, administers the sacrament of Baptism, and preaches at various masses.
Deacon Kevin and Anita are glad to be back home at St. Fabian Parish.