Members of the diaconate community from all parts of the Diocese of Cleveland came to St. Basil the Great Church in Brecksville on May 7 to celebrate the significant jubilee years of permanent deacons serving the diocese. Bishop Nelson Perez was the main celebrant for the Mass which brought together deacons celebrating jubilee years, their family members and many others from the diocesan diaconate community. They prayed together, remembering permanent deacons who have served, those currently serving and those still in formation.
In his homily, Bishop Perez thanked the deacons for their years of service to the Church. He also thanked the wives of deacons for their sacrifice in sharing their husbands who spend significant time witnessing to their diaconal vocation. He also spoke of the intimate relationship of the deacon to the Church, noting that a deacon has been singled out and called deep within his soul to enter into a deep relationship with the Lord. He also spoke of the deacon as a “sign” who points to something else, namely service and charity.
“You are a deacon of the Church. You have your own charism in and of yourself that points the way to Christ through service,” the bishop said.
After Mass, the jubilee classes celebrating their 10th, 25th, 30th, 35th and 40th anniversaries of ordination gathered with Bishop Perez for photos. The celebration continued as the deacons, their families and other guests enjoyed a buffet and reception in the parish hall.
Deacons spend up to five years in preparation for their ministry: one year of aspirancy and four years of formation. Permanent deacons are assigned to parishes within the diocese to assist the bishop and priests. Their duties include assisting at the Eucharist, distributing Holy Communion, witnessing and blessing marriages, proclaiming the Gospel and preaching, presiding at funerals and engaging in ministries of charity.
The deacons have a three-fold ministry of word, altar and charity. They are charged with performing works of charity and their ministry is one of service.
For more information on the permanent diaconate in the Diocese of Cleveland, visit dioceseofcleveland.org/offices/clergy-religious/diaconate.