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10 years on, deacons reflect on their ministry in Australia

Deacon Greg Kandra - published on 07/27/16


In 2006, 14 men were ordained to the Permanent Diaconate for the Archdiocese of Perth.A decade on, the Deacons talk to The eRecord about how their work as Deacons has inspired them. Ten years on from their ordination, Permanent Deacons Patrick Moore and Paul Reid say they continue to learn and grow in these positions, despite taking on quite different roles in the Archdiocese. Permanent Deacons are men – married or single – who are called to be ordained ministers of the Church, undertaking a spiritual role in the Archdiocese at a specific parish or location. Deacons can preach, celebrate baptisms, marriages, conduct Communion Services and other liturgical celebrations such as funeral services but are unable to celebrate Mass, anoint the sick or give absolution. For Deacon Moore – who is a chaplain to seafarers at Fremantle’s Stella Maris Centre and a member of the Apostleship of the Sea (AOS) – becoming ordained meant taking on more than just a new role and new responsibilities. “Ordination means the taking on of a new identity, an identity which takes some time to ‘fit’,” he said. “Like a new pair of jeans, very uncomfortable at first, the identity has to be lived in and then washed in prayer and reflection.” …Deacon Reid – who is based at his home parish of Sacred Heart in Mundaring – said that the diaconal ministry for him was about striving to be a faithful servant who brings the Good News to all in his parish appointment. “Pope Francis, in a recent homily to deacons in Rome, reminded us that, as a first step, they are asked to be available,” he said. “Being available to all is an imperative. To be a married deacon who serves, availability is about that balance of family and ministry.” He added that he had received much support from priests and parishioners. However, it was the loving support of his wife, Charmianne, and family, that had helped balance his role in the parish with outside work and family life. “In the first couple of years, parishioners were naturally curious to know what this role of permanent deacon was all about. Sometimes there was scepticism. For example, there were (and still are) instances where people want a priest, not a deacon, as the celebrant for a Baptism. Patient tolerance and a gentle explanation or reminder of the diaconal ministry usually overcomes this,” Deacon Reid said.

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