Sunday, May 24, 2009

What a Week!

A Week in the Life of a Catholic Permanent Deacon

When I began my email updates and then this blog one of my goals was to help family, friends, fellow Catholics and all people of goodwill to learn more about the office of the Permanent Deacon. So I thought perhaps a walk through a very busy active week would help to explore the activities of a Deacon.

From the outset, please know that being a Deacon is not just about “what” we do but more about “who” we are.

Everyday always begins with prayer. As a Permanent Deacon I pledged to pray morning and evening prayer from what we call the Divine Office or Liturgy of the Hours. This is also referred to as the breviary. This prayer consists of antiphons, hymns, several psalms, a reading from Scripture, prayer intentions and the Our Father. At Morning Prayer the featured Gospel canticle is that from Zechariah from Luke 1:68-79 and the Evening Prayer Gospel canticle is the Magnificat, the words spoke by Mary at the Annunciation; Luke 1: 46-55.

We are encouraged to pray other hours of the day and I’ll try to do Night Prayer as well. Again, this is done every day without fail.

Until recently, I assist at daily Mass. Some shifts in my work day (yes I have a full time job) have greatly cut down on my ability to attend daily Mass. This past week, I was able to attend just once. During this past week, I had several administrative tasks to perform related to my prison ministry and I visited with the men at Rayburn on Wednesday night. I prepare a communion service and a homily and allow ample time to visit with the men one on one to assist with their spiritual needs. Every visit is a blessing; this past week no exception.

This capped off a very busy day. Taking advantage of a day off from work, I attended two meetings related to ministry. One meeting afforded me the opportunity to visit with other Deacons and our Priests from the West St. Tammany Deanery. We listened to several guest speakers who gave advice on parish ministries and finances among other topics. That afternoon, all the Deacons from my home parish met to work out schedules, assignments and other important tasks. I was given an opportunity to assist with another baptism and to work with a young couple on having their marriage blessed or sacramentalized. These opportunities to work directly with people and bring them closer to Jesus through His Church are always welcomed by the Deacon.

I had another meeting to attend at a neighboring parish that afforded me the opportunity to visit with two acolytes; men who are on path to be ordained Deacons next year. I also mentor three men who have just begun formation so I spent some time this week preparing for a mentoring session this coming week and a more personal visit I plan to arrange in June.

One of the absolute highlights of the week was preparing for my homily for the Feast of the Ascension, delivered today. I love the work that is necessary to prepare a homily. First, all preparation is grounded in prayer, including praying with the Scriptures. Next, I do my own exegesis; studying the meanings of the writings in context, and finally I draft an outline which hopefully, results in the final product. I also prepared my shorter homily for the Baptism I presided at this afternoon.

As in any given week, there was ample opportunity to have one on one time with several folks who, like all of us, are exploring their faith life and their relationship with God. I pretty much will drop anything to listen and share with others of the amazing love God has for each of us. Many weeks I am called to a home of a parishioner or the hospital or maybe a funeral. This past week brought no such events. But I did many other important things as a Deacon all week long. I went to work, assisted clients, cut my grass, feed my horses, went to lunch with dear friends, spent some time with my daughter, Elizabeth, even helped her find a summer job, told my wife Wendy I love her, watched my favorite TV show, called friends, had good friends over for a visit, went to coffee with folks from church. You see, being a Deacon is being you. I even spent some personal time with God for myself. I visited Him in Church before the tabernacle, I prayed to Him and I asked Him for courage and strength in understanding all that He wants me to do. Even after nearly 6 years of formation and 6 months after ordination, I still am being formed and I still am discerning His will for me.

By the way, since this is Sunday, the first day of a new week, I had a very beautiful experience. After preaching at the 11 a.m. mass, I baptized a beautiful baby, my second opportunity to preside. Little Addison was the first little girl that I was privliged to Baptize. I wish I could adequately explain the feeling when administering this powerful Sacrament.

So I hope this helps in giving some appreciation for a week in the life of a Deacon. All Permanent Deacons face similar weeks. Again let me stress that it is not as important to focus on what we do but that we have been called to sacramentalize service by our ordination and our office. Pray for vocations to this wonderful ministry and pray even more intensely for vocations to the Priesthood.

Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever. Hebrews 13:8.

Deacon Mike.


  1. May God continue to bless you in your ministry. I am glad to have happened on your site!

  2. May God Bless you and your family, and all that you do for our community.

  3. Deacon Mike - God willing, I will be ordained to the Order of Deacon next May. I thank you for your blog post as it provides a great window into some of the things I may be involved with in the not too distant future. My classes for this year recently ended and I and my 22 Brother Candidates are engaged in our Hospital Ministry Pastoral Field Education. I may have an opportunity to do some prison ministry this summer if it works out with my work schedule and Parish responsibilities. God bless you for your great example! Tom