The ministry of word calls the deacon to be evangelizer and teacher. Not only is he called to teach and evangelize in the traditional sense as instructor and preacher, but he takes the spirit and message of Jesus to the public arena through his generous sharing of time and talent and his concern for those around him, especially the poor. These activities engage the deacon “New Evangelization” in a most profound and meaningful way.
The ministry of liturgy calls the deacon to assist at the altar, to distribute the Eucharist especially as an ordinary minister of the Cup, to witness weddings, to preside at funerals, to administer viaticum to the sick, to lead Sunday Celebrations in the Absence of a Priest, and to preside at other rites and celebrations as appropriate. A vibrant diaconate will enhance and expand the ministry of both the presbyterate and the episcopate.
The ministry of charity and justice calls the deacon to not only serve those in need, but also to defend and act as a voice for all those who are poor, marginalized and defenseless, those who are victims, those who are ignored or despised by society. Again, to quote Pope John Paul II, “This is at the very heart of the Diaconate to which you have been called: to be servant of the mysteries of Christ and, at the same time to be servant of your brothers and sisters…” Although the deacon’s service begins at the altar and returns there, “the deacons’ service in the ministry of word and liturgy would be severely deficient if his exemplary witness and assistance in the Church’s ministry of charity and justice did not accompany it.”