From Little Rock, a big deal:
Nearly 70 men will begin the journey this fall toward becoming permanent deacons for the Diocese of Little Rock. Beginning in August, 50 men and their wives will attend monthly weekend classes in English at St. John Center in Little Rock while 19 men and their wives will attend formation classes in Spanish at Subiaco Abbey. Ordination is expected to occur in summer 2022. The diaconate formation process has been proceeding for these couples since the fall of 2015 when they attended informational meetings to learn about plans for a diaconate ordination in 2022. The diaconate process was open to Catholic men in good standing with the Church who would be at least 35 years old by their ordination in 2022. About 130 men who discerned a calling to the diaconate then met in monthly small discernment groups from January to September 2016, led by deacons and their wives. “We were happy and surprised that we had 130 people in discernment,” said Father Erik Pohlmeier, diocesan faith formation and diaconate formation director.
And there’s this salient quote from a priest whose father is a deacon:
“(The bishop) said they aren’t to become leaders in a traditional sense,” he said. “He said they are to become glue for their parishes. They don’t become second in command after the pastor. They can be bridges in the parish to heal or reconcile or to help with transitions since deacons don’t change from parish to parish the way priests do. They can become a consistent presence as glue for the community.”