When I led the retreat for the deacon candidates and their wives this past weekend, I mentioned to those attending that there are a few books that I think are invaluable. They’d make useful additions to any deacon’s library.
Ordained to Serve: Prayers and Blessings for Deacons, edited by Father Denis Robinson, O.S.B. This book is a treasure trove; it includes (among many resources) prayers for the day of ordination, prayers before preaching, blessings for vestments and prayers for a Holy Hour, all with a diaconal bent. All this in a slim, attractive and eminently portable volume with cloth ribbons. Nice.
Shorter Book of Blessings. This elegant little volume is brought to you from the same publisher of Christian Prayer, and looks like a smaller sibling of that book. It includes longer and shorter versions of blessings for almost everything you can imagine—houses, equipment, food, religious objects, etc. It also features short formulas of blessings that I told the deacon candidates they should memorize before the day of ordination: blessings of rosaries. They’ll likely be getting requests for a lot of those.
A Deacon’s Retreat by Deacon James Keating. A short and prayerful guide for a deacon to lead a self-directed retreat, this paperback offers reflections based on the deacon’s words and actions during the Mass. A short appendix includes several elegantly crafted prayers that can help give spiritual focus to the deacon’s heart and mind.
Those are for starters. Other books to consider are from the superb “Diaconate Library” of Paulist Press, though many of these are more academic in nature and some of the deacons may already have used them in formation.
Vestments—stoles and dalmatics—make for great gifts, too, of course, though you can easily run up a big tab into the hundreds of dollars (or more!). Gift certificates to local church supply shops are always appreciated.
Still stumped? Deacons are here to help!
The Deacon Store is a terrific online spot for one-stop shopping. Owned and operated by Deacon Gil Nadeau and his wife Mary, this little corner of the Internet features all sorts of deacon products and apparel—for both the deacon and his wife.
Pax Creations in Bryan, Texas offers a wide range of unique diaconal jewelry, all hand made by Deacon Bill Scarmardo.
Deacon Lawrence Klimecki from Sacramento creates exquisite prints and icons, many with a diaconal theme.
When all else fails, of course, something that folds and fits into a card is always appropriate, too.