The mandate of the deacon is “to interpret to the Church the needs, concerns, and hopes of the world” and in particular, “to serve all people, particularly the poor, the weak, the sick, and the lonely” (BAS p. 655). Deacons are also seen as icons of servanthood ministry in parish liturgy and ministry settings as well as in their work lives in the world outside the parish. They are to encourage and call forth parish members to take on servanthood roles as part of their baptismal ministry and, perhaps, to discern a call to the diaconate.
The Diaconate Working Group (DWG) was formed in 2002. This was a step toward restoring the diaconate as a “full and equal order” In Rupert’s Land.
The DWG has produced reports on the vision and mission of the diaconate, the role and place of deacons in the diocese, guidelines for diaconal selection, placement, and ordination, and the ministry of deacons in the church and in the world. They have produced documents on the discernment, selection, training, and ordination of prospective deacons. In 2005-2006, the Bishop appointed a Coordinator of Deacons’ Formation (CDF) to assist in the preparation of candidates and their parishes for diaconal ministry.
In 2007 a diocesan ACPO for Deacons was held for the first six candidates. These candidates took a diaconal preparatory course, “Interpreting the World,” offered at St. John’s College Faculty of Theology. In 2008, the six were ordained as vocational deacons.
If you are interested in being considered for diaconal ministry, consult first with your parish incumbent or other spiritual coordinator (e.g., in the workplace). Then, contact the Coordinator of Deacons’ Formation whose responsibilities include meeting with prospective candidates for the diaconate and with their parish priests, undertaking an initial assessment of the candidates’ background preparation, and assisting them in preparing to enter the process of discernment.