Saturday, 26 December 2009

Deacon Murdered

St Stephen as the first martyr was stoned to death, and watched by Paul (Saul) before his conversion, he is my patron as a fellow Deacon. He and Lawrence give me much encouragement in the church and vocation of service one tries to follow however badly. We need more vocational and permanent deacons! We began to recover their importance but with all the turmoil within the church things seem to have slowed down again. The liturgical role is the only thing that makes sense to me of the ordination of deacons. How those of a less traditonalist background cope with being treated as second class priests or servers in their parishes without this essential role beats me! Luckily my colleague and parish priest shares the same perspective and that of the Universal church. It is a specific and valuable ministry in it's own right. It is surely right in my mind that as with priests and bishops this ordained ministry is for men alone in the tradition of the church. of paramount importance is that we proclaim with confidence at every Mass the Gospel, the Good News of Jesus Christ to the world. The ministry  encompasses celebrating at baptisms, funerals, marriages, preparation for confirmation, preaching the word, benediction, Eucharistic rites of holy communion(always from the reserved sacrament), helping to run the parish, sick visiting and anointing, leading prayer and assisting with the distribution of the Holy Communion, Sunday school and catechist work and sharing in the cure of souls with the priest and as a servant of the Bishop in whose full sacramental and pastoral care one hopes to be part of, sharing in his college of priests and deacons made visible at the Chrism Mas in Holy Week. That is if you are allowed to have one, which we have been denied so unjustly here in Wales. Stephen was stoned to death and persecuted for his faith praying to God to be merciful to his murderers whilst being stoned. Today it is in joy that we share St. Stephens day with all the Christians of the West and East (their feast is actually the day after), may the continued prayers of the protomartyr and Deacon St. Stephen help us to serve Christ's church through the ministry of all deacons, supporting us in the heavy responsibility to which we have been called to share in with the Apostles and their successors. Amen

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