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Catholic Vancouver Sep 6, 2017

Are you interested in the Permanent Diaconate?

By Deacon Hilmar Pabel

Deacon Hilmar Pabel. (BCC file photo)

For more than a year you have noticed the presence of permanent deacons in the Archdiocese of Vancouver.  You have read about them in the pages of The B.C. Catholic.  You may have heard a deacon proclaim the Gospel and preach a homily at Mass.  You may have received Holy Communion from a deacon.  Perhaps you saw a deacon hold the oil of chrism as Archbishop Miller confirmed your son or daughter.  A man in my parish, who heard me preach and to whom I gave Holy Communion, exclaimed with amazement:  “I could do that!”

Would you like to do that? Might your interest be a sign of God’s call for you to serve him as a permanent deacon? To serve as Jesus serves? Do you think your husband, your son, your son-in-law, or brother might be a good deacon?

Married men can serve as deacons.  Men must be at least 35 and no older than 65 at the time of ordination.

If you would like to learn more about the permanent diaconate, I invite you and your wife to attend three inspiring sessions that I shall offer about this ordained ministry. Please come to St. Mark’s College on the campus of UBC on three Saturday mornings: Sept. 23, Oct. 28, and Nov. 19. Prayer begins at 8:30 a.m.  Each session lasts from 9 a.m. to  noon.  Stay afterwards for a light lunch and a brief program of spiritual formation. Register at www.stmarkscollege.ca. Registration costs $50/individual or $60/couple. Ask your pastor if he could subsidize your attendance.

My focus will be on the identity of the deacon. We already know many of the things he can do.  But what does it mean to be a deacon?

We begin in September by learning about the fascinating history of the diaconate.  In October, we turn to theology: what does it mean to be a deacon in God’s eyes?  Finally, in November, we address the practical aspects of the balance of a deacon’s ministry with marriage, family, and work. You will also learn how to apply for admission to the archdiocese’s permanent diaconate program.

God is with you in your discernment. Listen to him as he listens to you. I look forward to sharing with you the joy of serving as a deacon in the name of Jesus Christ, the first deacon.

Hilmar Pabel is a permanent deacon for the Archdiocese of Vancouver.