This made my day: "When I grow up I want to be a deacon"

The following was sent to me and Deacon Bill Ditewig via Facebook from Brian Gadbois in Charlton, Massachusetts:

I read Deacon Greg’s blog article yesterday — “Where Do Deacons Come From?” —  in which he quoted Deacon Bill as saying “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.”

I wanted to let you know that God willing, I will become a Deacon next June because I said “When I grow up I want to be a deacon.” My childhood parish received one of the Deacons ordained in the first class for the Diocese of Worcester. He was a friend of the family and I truly admired him. Because of his example, I finally entered diaconate formation myself in 2008 – thirty years after he was ordained. I would be surprised if I am the first inspired by the childhood example of the diaconate. I am certain I will not be the last.

God Bless

God bless you, Brian — and thank you!  You’ll be in many prayers.  I hope you’ll keep us posted.

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15 responses to “This made my day: "When I grow up I want to be a deacon"”

  1. I’m just out of undergrad, and in grad school now but you can add my name to those who want to be deacons when they “grow-up.”

  2. It was a July 4th (2011) family picnic. Everyone there was commemorating my one son-in-law — Mark — who is a sergeant in the Ohio National Guard and will be deployed for Afghanistan in the foreseeable future.

    During that gathering, Mark’s nephew Zack struck up a conversation with me. He is now a senior in our local Catholic High School. During that conversation, young Zack said, when “I grow up I want to be a married deacon.” I was genuinely amazed. First time that has ever happened.

    As soon as that book “Where do Deacons Come From” came out, I bought one and sent it to him.

  3. I have a whole list of comboxers who want to be Pope. And as soon as the Church decides to call Pope Bugspittin Troll I to the Chair of Peter, he’ll be ready.

  4. Dear Brian,

    Thanks so much for sharing your story with us! It does indeed mark a clear signal of the maturation of the renewed order of deacon.

    All the best as you continue your path of formation. May many more follow you!

    God bless,

    Deacon Bill

  5. Deacon Greg – I apologize in advance for this off-topic post, but Phyllis’ comment has prompted this reply. I fully understand if you see fit to delete both of our posts so as not to detract in any way from your wonderful original post.

    Phyllis – I know that you have spent a considerable amount of time studying the issue and you have “spilled much ink” in setting forth your personal opinion on the ordination of women to the Diaconate. I neither mean nor intend an ounce of disrespect to you or any woman for that matter when I say that my personal belief simply causes me to respectfully disagree with you. I personally believe that CCC 1577, 1578 and 1598 settle the issue for me.

    I start with the accepted premise that no one is entitled to receive the Sacrament of Holy Orders. Too much of our world today is focused upon perceived entitlements, and this unfortunately often falls into that error.

    I next think it is important to note that the confusion often arises in acting as though we are talking about the “Sacrament of Bishop,” the “Sacrament of Priest,” and the “Sacrament of Deacon.” We must of course aim our focus upon the “Sacrament of Holy Orders,” period.

    The CCC sections noted above make it abundantly clear that the “Sacrament of Holy Orders” may ONLY be conferred upon men. Without being able to confer the “Sacrament of Holy Orders” upon women, they can never be ordained Deacons in the Church.

    I do not state any of this whatsoever to render any sort of judgment or opinion that women are unfit, unworthy, or unqualified (from an ability sense) to do what ordained Deacons do in the Church. As you known it is not simply a matter of what a Deacon DOES, but who he IS in the theology of the Church.

    I love to collaborate regularly with so many great and wonderful women who serve alongside me in the Church in so many essential, respected, and cherished roles. The run Religious Education and RCIA Programs, and teach classes in both too. They are principals of Catholic schools and dominate the teaching positions there too! They are wonderful administrators, coordinators, and treasured assistants. They are Diocesan Chancellors, and come from both the lay and consecrated religious ranks. They have founded schools, hospitals and many other social service agencies. They are CEOs of Catholic hospitals and other vital Catholic healthcare systems. They simply are not ordained Deacons, much the same as I could never be a nun!

    It is not a question of fairness either. There are many aspects of life that do not seem “fair” at first glance. Most mature women can have children. I cannot despite the fact of whether or not I “want to.” We have different roles in life. The priesthood of the faithful is not the same as the Ordained Priesthood. Is that unfair? No. It’s simply a matter of different roles.

    Christ established the “Sacrament of Holy Orders” to only be open to men and that is not open to dispute any longer unless someone else simply chooses to be intellectually dishonest about the clear pronouncement of now Blessed Pope John Paul II and the further emphatic statement by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

    I truly wish that this is one issue in the Church that all people will one day agree to lay to rest once and for all, for the good of the Church. So long as we are wasting additional time on this settled issue, we are not doing the work of God, and that is a real shame. So much of this energy could and should be used for the building up of God’s Kingdom in accordance with our respective roles. This is simply another issue that causes division in the Church when we so fervently need to work very hard on Christ’s desire, “that they all may be one!”

    Thanks for “listening to” my two-cents Phyllis! I know I don’t have the background on this topic that you possess, so please just consider this to be my personal belief and cry for an end to this issue that divides so many in our Church, and propels so many away from our Church that Christ established.

  6. Thanks, Deacon Tom…

    I’m sure Phyllis might have more to add herself in response. But I’d encourage you and others who are interested in this to read “Women Deacons,” coming out next month. It adds immeasurably to the scholarship on this topic and, I hope, will encourage more discussion and study in this area.

    Dcn. G.

  7. Re Deacons Tom #7 and Greg #8:

    As of the present moment, this topic is still “open” in our church. Benedict XVI all but said so in that Moto Propio on the topic of the diaconate maybe two years ago now.

    Over that time, it has been the subject of some serious and balanced discussion throughout the entire world — including in the various blogs. I know that there were a wide ranging series of insights from both the conservative and liberal wings of “centrist” and “loyal” Catholic Christianity.

    Knowing how slow Rome rules on anything, I suspect the topic of women in the diaconate will likely continue to be an “open” discussion for some time to come.

    Deacon Tom: I appreciate your response. It is well balanced and has thoughtful references to CCC. I do not know whether you were involved in the earlier blog postings on this topic but — if I recall correctly — Deacon Greg, Deacon Bill and myself commented on the positive side and several other deacons — who regularly comment on this blog — described the negative. Deacon Bill, of course, is one of the contributors to that book about to be published.

  8. I know several men who want to become deacons, they range in ages from their twenties and up. I have yet to personally hear a young boy say he wants to be a deacon, but having several men who are relatively young interested is encouraging. As I have said before in other comments I am in the Boston deacon program and when these men find my involvement they have expressed their interest.

    Unfortunately there is still lack of understanding about the vocation to the deaconate. Someone the other day asked me if I wanted to “play priest”, someone else expressed that deacons are “glorified altar boys”, and a few years ago a bishop asked me if I wanted to be a deacon because I like the “fancy robes”. Information and awareness of the vocation are sorely needed.

    The order of deacon is as old as the order of priests and bishops (remember the 7 of the Book of Acts) and during the first five or six centuries of the Church the deacon was the main assistant to the bishop (Saint Lawrence). So your post is very encouraging indeed.

  9. I will say that my own call to the Diaconate started when I was 14. I was asked by a parish priest if I had considered being a priest. I thought about it for a few weeks and didn’t feel the call to the priesthood, but he opened me to realizing that I had a call to something. About 3 months later in Jan of 1982 a parishioner was ordained as a permanent Deacon and I knew at that time what I was being called to do. I told people then that I was going to be a deacon when I grew up. Even through my struggles in the rest of high school and college when I left the Church for about 3 years the call stayed with me. I told my wife when we were dating I wanted to be a deacon and she was ok with it. Thanks be to God I was ordained in June of 2008 with the support of my wife and 2 children.

  10. Sorry, but I forgot to also add in my previous post links to these two solid theologcial works on the issue. For those who enjoy or are willing to persevere in reading academic theology, these two are excellent regarding why women cannot be ordained to the diaconate.

    From Most Rev. Gehard Muller, present Bishop of Regensburg and was on the Vatican International Theological Comission study on diaconate:

    From Fr. Aime Martimort, renowned French theologian particularly on liturgy and on diaconate.

  11. When I was in my early teens, our parish received one of the first Deacons in the diocese. I thought then “what if?”

    I never would have dreamed that God would lead me to where I am today.

    God willing, I will be ordained a Deacon in 2013 after a long and winding road.

    May God bless all the trailblazers who hacked their way through the forest to reveal a path of formation.

  12. When I was growing up in the late 70’s early 80’s, I was inspired by the example of the deacons in my parish.
    Now, I am a deacon the parish I grew up in. The men who set examples for me then were some of the first deacons in my area. I feel like I am carrying on the legacy they started.

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