‘I am his sounding board’: Conference focuses on impact of diaconate on marriage

‘I am his sounding board’: Conference focuses on impact of diaconate on marriage October 29, 2019

“We are on call 24/7, we can’t walk through the local shopping center without being recognized.”

Photo by Shelby Deeter on Unsplash

Check this out, from the Archdiocese of Perth in Australia:

For many decades Deborah Talbot, wife of Perth Deacon Bruce Talbot, has lived the rich and also spiritually challenging experience of being her husband’s helpmate in his ministry as a Permanent Deacon.

Deborah was a key speaker at the 2019 Deacon’s Conference held at the University of Notre Dame in Fremantle, from 3 to 6 October 2019, which had a special emphasis on the role of the Permanent Diaconate in supporting the Bishops: by supporting the evangelization, pastoral care and preaching across the parishes.

The focus of the conference, ‘The Father and I are One’, highlighted the wisdom and life experience brought to the ministry by a mature married couple and the mutual support that the sacrament of marriage brings.

Deborah explained that the support provided by a Deacon’s wife is incredibly varied and does not stop for weekends or public holidays.

“We are on call 24/7, we can’t walk through the local shopping centre without being recognized,” she said. “The only time we are free from the pressures of diaconate are when we travel.

According to Deborah, the wives of the Permanent Diaconate share in their husbands’ ministry as equal partners, often taking on new challenges outside of Church based roles to ensure that their spouses are able to fulfill their duties to the parishes.

“As the Diaconate is an unpaid ministry, I had to return to full time work to support the family financially,” Deborah shared.

“However, Bruce was freed up to do the school run and be there for the children, especially as I was required to travel frequently for work. It was an old fashioned role reversal: Bruce became the stay at home dad while I worked.”

This kind of sacrificial behavior extends to learning the many administrative skills necessary for the effective management of a parish.

“I work preparing couples for marriage, making candles for baptisms and weddings: when he ran the RCIA program in the parish I helped with preparation of materials for that; I help with putting his services together, setting up blank documents of the Rites so that his life in preparing funerals, weddings and baptisms is easier.

“I’m his sounding board for homilies and other challenges he may face.”

Deborah elaborated that although this might sound like she is just in the background, supporting Bruce administratively, nothing could be further from the truth.

There’s much more. Read it all. 


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