I’m delighted to report that a new book for children answers that question — and may answer it, too, for grown ups. In fact, anyone who is curious about the married man with the angled stole who putters around the sacristy, baptizes babies and expounds every now and then from the pulpit should check out Elizabeth Ficocelli’s friendly primer, “Where Do Deacons Come From?”
It’s part of a very good series for young people that includes “Where Do Priests Come From?” and “Where Do Sisters Come From?” And it answers that question — where do deacons come from?? — with clarity, sensitivity and an engaging sense of curiosity. The first page of this slim book (14 pages in all, cheerfully illustrated by Shannon Wirrenga) sets the tone:
Do you ever wonder where deacons come from?
Do they grow on a farm? No. Are they made in a factory? No. Deacons come from God’s people. They once were young boys, just like you.
As children, these boys played football, kickball and tag. Some of them collected bus or traded baseball cards. They may have dreamed of traveling, going to college, having a family, or starting a business. As these young men grew and followed their dreams, they also held in their hearts a strong desire to serve Jesus and his Church.
This would be a wonderful tool for any catechetical program for schoolchildren — and a great gift for anyone in the family of a deacon or deacon candidate who might be wondering just what this vocation is all about. My friend Deacon William Ditewig has said that the diaconate will only become fully accepted as a vocation when young people say, “When I grow up I want to be a deacon.” This book could help make that a reality.