Meet Deacon Tim, Part IV

In this last article I would like to talk about the role of the deacon in our Catholic Church. What is a deacon? What do deacons do and not do? Why does our parish have a deacon?

The deacon is at the first level of ordained ministry. Every priest, bishop, and even the pope himself, was first ordained a deacon. The diaconal ministry is one of service to the Word, at the altar, and in the world. Whenever I am present at Mass, you will hear me proclaim the gospel and sometimes preach the homily. This is what a deacon does as a servant of the Word. You may have also noticed that I am offering the prayers of the faithful. This, too, is part of the deacon’s role. As a deacon, I am responsible to assist Father at the altar by receiving the bread and wine and preparing the altar for the consecration. As a deacon, I am an ordinary minster of the Eucharist, so distributing Holy Communion is also part of my ordained ministry.

As a deacon, I am called to assist at Mass. I may also witness marriages without a Mass, preside at funeral and wake services, offer blessings for people and objects, and visit the sick and suffering. A deacon does not consecrate the Eucharist, hear confessions, or anoint the sick and dying.

As a deacon, I have my foot in two worlds. I am a husband, father, grandfather, and full-time employee. I encounter situations out in the world, and I bring that “worldly” experience to my ordained ministry. As an ordained man, I receive the same sacrament of holy orders, but I am ordained at the level of a permanent deacon rather than a priest. I am here to serve the people of this parish in all the ways that I can as a deacon. I look forward to how God chooses to use me in this parish community and in my corrections ministry in Washington County.

People often ask what they should call me. By my ordination, the Church has given me a new name that reflects my new place and ministry in the Body of Christ. To the secular world, I am still Tim Hennessey. In the parish setting, I am your deacon, so please feel free to address me as Deacon Tim or Deacon Hennessey, or simply “Deacon.”

There is a shift that occurs in me when I change from my regular attire into my clerical attire. While I am always a deacon regardless of what I am doing or wearing, I am strongly reminded of who I am in the Church when I am wearing my clerical clothing.

Congratulations! You have all completed Deaconology: 101. I hope this series of articles has helped you to know me a little better. There is a lot more to say, and I will weave little pieces of my life and my ministry into homilies and talks in the weeks and months to come.   Thanks for being so welcoming. It is truly good to be here. I look forward to moving more and more into my various ministry roles at St. Peter’s. With your help, support, and prayers, I will become the deacon that God wants me to be for this parish.

In Loving Service,

Deacon Tim



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