May 30, 2008

National Directory sheds light on deacons and marriage

By Sean Gallagher

Growing in love.

Giving witness to the sanctity of marriage.

Offering the Church a model of Christ-like love, compassion and sacrifice.

Those qualities are among the characteristics designed to guide the formation, life and ministry of the 25 deacon candidates who, on June 28, will become the first men ordained as permanent deacons for the archdiocese. (See also: Future deacons discuss being married and being ordained)

Those guidelines can be found in the National Directory for the Formation, Life and Ministry of Permanent Deacons in the United States—a document created by the U.S. bishops and approved by the Holy See.

The directory says the following about the interrelationship of the callings to marriage and the diaconate:

“A married deacon, with his wife and family, gives witness to the sanctity of marriage. The more they grow in mutual love, conforming their lives to the Church’s teachings on marriage and sexuality, the more they give to the Christian community a model of Christ-like love, compassion and self-sacrifice.

“The married deacon must always remember that through his sacramental participation in both vocational sacraments, first in matrimony and again in holy orders, he is challenged to be faithful to both. With integrity, he must live out both sacraments in harmony and balance. …

“A deacon and his wife, both as a spiritual man and woman and as a couple, have much to share with the bishop and his priests about the sacrament of matrimony. A diaconal family also brings a unique presence and understanding of the domestic family” (#68). †

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