The vocation that Lincoln lacks: permanent deacons

With all the news this week about the retirement of Bishop Fabian Bruskewitz of Lincoln, Nebraska, one detail that went largely unmentioned was his diocese’s lack of deacons.

The diocese has a significant number of priests, of which the bishop is justly proud.

But deacons are another matter.

According to the diocesan website, there are 150 priests serving 134 parishes and 96,000 Catholics.  There are 44 seminarians and 141 religious sisters.

The number of permanent deacons? 3.

It was widely known that Bishop Bruskewitz did not want the diaconate in Lincoln, because he felt it would inhibit vocations to the priesthood.  (I’m not sure there are statistics to support that; other dioceses around the country with many priestly vocations also have a healthy number of vocations to the diaconate.)

Meantime, to this day, the diocesan vocations page in Lincoln does not list the diaconate as a possible vocation, and it does not list an office of the permanent diaconate, either.

Perhaps under the new bishop, things will change.

Let us pray.

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