A great read, with some great book recommendations, from Kevin di Camillo in OSV’s The Priest:
In 2003, there were very few books about deacons and the diaconate in English. The main titles were John N. Collins’s Deacons and the Church, Russell Shaw’s booklet Permanent Deacons, and Phyllis Zagano’s Holy Saturday. There were a few others in English, but very few. The definitive tome,Diaconia in Christo, by noted theologian Karl Rahner, Herbert Vorgrimmler, et al., 1962, had not been translated (in toto) from the German into English. All of this was odd because the only area of the church that was — and is — growing in any real numbers in North America (in terms of clerical and religious life) is that of deacons. Father Lawrence E. Boadt, C.S.P., whose untimely passing five years ago this year we commemorate, had the foresight and acumen to see a publishing opportunity — and vacuum — when one presented itself. He also had the ability, as my boss, to walk into my office and drop on my desk an unsolicited manuscript by Deacon Owen F. Cummings, D.D., and say, “Read this: I think we may want to publish it.” …In truth, Father Boadt knew little about the diaconate. But he knew that I was discerning a call to that order and asked me to find out everything I could about it: diocesan formation programs, the literature that was already out there (in any language), and mainly what was going on at The Secretariat for the Diaconate at the USCCB in Washington, D.C. Deacon formation programs seemed to be discrete affairs: there was no overarching or underlying rule-book for how deacons should be formed, aside from what is found in The Code of Canon Law (cf. §236). To confuse matters further, dioceses were not required to have a diaconate program, let alone deacons. This leads to a confusing theology of ministry: is a deacon who travels to a diocese that does not have permanent deacons still a deacon, even if he can’t exercise his office? And as mentioned supra, there was precious little written about the subject in English. Father Boadt was a fan of series of books. The simple reason for this is that, if just one book in a series was a hit, there was a chance its success would encourage readers to buy other books in that series. So when I said, “Yes, we should publish Deacon Cummings’s manuscript,” Father Boadt’s answer was, “Fine. But we now need a second book on the diaconate to start this new deacon series.” Thus the Paulist Press Deacons’ Library was born. Or at least conceived.
Read onto learn how it developed and grew.