Pope Francis speaks to deacons and their families about the vocation of deacons

In an address to deacons and their families in Rome on June 19, Pope Francis’ first point of emphasis was the distinction of the diaconate from the priesthood — that deacons are ordained “not unto the priesthood, but unto a ministry of service.”

“This difference is not insignificant,” he said. “The mere fact of emphasizing this difference helps to overcome the scourge of clericalism.”

Pope Francis then said the diaconate “leads us to the center of the mystery of the Church.” Just as the Church must be missionary and synodal, he said, it must also be diaconal.

“Deacons remind the Church that what Saint Theresa discovered is true: the Church has a heart enflamed by love. Yes, a humble heart throbbing with service. Deacons remind us of this when, like the deacon Saint Francis, they bring God’s closeness to others without imposing themselves, serving with humility and joy.”

Read the pope’s full address here.

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Witness
“I feel that the Catholic Church as it is structured is not what Jesus envisioned for his followers—so many of them were women of his day. What happened?”
Joan D. Martin
Ignatian Volunteer Corps Member, parishioner at New Roads Catholic Community in Belmont, MA
Endorser
“It is time to open up the permanent diaconate to all who are qualified regardless of gender. The Church needs this witness.”
Keith Davis
Director of Deacon Formation (Archdiocese of Santa Fe) and National Association of Lay Ministry Board Member
Witness
“Having women present in leadership at Mass would truly reveal the importance of women in the church.”
Lena Denis

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