Monday, July 13, 2009

Deacons in America

Prior to appearing in the print edition, my humble contribution to America magazine's ministry issue, which has a focus on the permanent diaconate, is available on-line, along with the contributions of my brother deacons, Dr. Bill Ditewig and Greg Kandra. My participation in this issue is the result of both men: Deacon Greg suggested me as a possibility and Deacon Ditewig's numerous and insightful writings on the permanent diaconate have helped inform me as I continue to work on my Integrated Pastoral Research project on developing the ecclesial identity of the permanent deacon in light of the twin realities of priesthood and lay ecclesial ministry.

I cannot fail to mention the friendship, personal mentoring, and scholarship of Deacon Owen Cummings, whose encouragement after reading a first and very rough draft of the article helped me to realize that I could do this. Along with Dr. Ditewig, Owen has labored hard as both a deacon and a theologian to lay a solid foundation for a sound and progressive theology of the permanent diaconate. While I have been informed by the writings of many, Deacon Cummings has been instrumental in my formation over many years. There is another Greg to whom I owe a debt of gratitude, Dr. Greg Sobolewski, who is a brilliant theologian, master teacher, mentor, and friend. The genesis of this article was a lengthy ecclesiology paper, written for a class I took from him: Vatican II’s Restoration of the Permanent Diaconate: ressourcement and aggiornamento.

Dr. Ditewig's article touches on an area that needs a lot of clarification, the relation of matrimony and holy orders in the life and ministry of the permanent deacon- Married and Ordained: The ministry of deacons. Deacon Kandra's contribution is entitled A Deacon’s Lessons: Seven things they don't teach you in formation. I am guessing that space limited him to only seven things! Finally, there is my brief outline of the restoration of permanent diaconate thus far: Looking Back and Ahead: The theology behind the permanent diaconate.

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