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April 3, 1998     The Message
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April 3, 1998

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6 The Message m for Catholics of Southwestern Indiana " The Deaconate: An ew)lving rain" By ANN M. ENNIS Franklin seized the chance to has a direct role in how parish ...... Contributing Writer become joined in a permanent way to the Church. His theology and philosophy background proved a great asset to the class of deacons. Coupled with his English train- ing and personal wisdom, they also made his teaching at Memorial a success. Although Franklin was first assigned to Holy Rosary Parish and now works from Corpus Christi Parish, both of Evans- ville, he sees the deaconate moving beyond the bounds of a parish. "We are not to be mini- priests," he said. "The deaconate is for the service of the Church, not the parish. Deacons do not have to do only parish work." Franklin further explained that many people see deacons only in the liturgical role, but that the actual Vatican II document re- introducing the deaconate indi- cates an administrative and ser- vice role. He offered examples of dea- cons locally and nationally working in prison ministry, homeless shelters, Catholic Cen- ter business offices, and more as well as their parish assign- ments. On the parish level, Franklin said, a congregation may find their deacon is great at administering the parish books, but they should not assume that if there is no priest a deacon will always fill that role. The laity es are run, a role getting stronger and one not to be nec- essarily a duty of the deaconate, Franklin urged. "Although I am assigned to Corpus Christi," he said, "I feel an important part of my min- istry is also here in the school. Education is an important means of ministry of the word." Franklin's ministry has brought him and the people around him great joys m the joys of baptism welcoming an infant to the Church, the joys of homilies that truly affect people, or the joys of bringing teenagers back into the faith. Working in a high school has provided ample experiences with the latter! "Deacons have the joy of being able to touch people's lives at important moments," he said. "As ordained ministers we are allowed to intervene in cri- sis. Recently I had that joy with a husband and wife. Now the man gives me credit for saving his marriage," Franklin sits back and allows a small smile at the memory. "It is a young ministry. We are still finding our way," Franklin said. "It is important for us all to search for the way, to research authentic deacon-ministries, rather than to just fill in empty holes." For that, Franklin urges dialog throughout the Church between deacons and their bish- ops. Such a dialog is present in Deacon David Franklin pauses Editor's note: Following is another in a series of articles exploring the "pdrish fitture, parish present" in the Diocese of Evans- ville. Deacon David Franklin was interviewed recently during "an early morning conversation" with Ann Ennis. This May it will be 21 years since the ordination of the first class of deacons in the Diocese or Evansville. Since that time, more than 30 men have been accepted into an exciting and evolving ministry. Twenty-one deacons are currently active in the diocese. As they serve the Church, they express their soul and spirit in many ways. Deacon David Franklin was in that first group of newly ordained deacons. If his energy in this early morning conversa- tion in any way reflects the group's enthusiasm of 11 years ago, a lot of strength came into the Church that year. Franklin had been a teacher for many years prior to moving to the community to teach reli- gion classes at Reitz Memorial High School, Evansville. Origi- nally from Cleveland, Ohio, he found Evansville a comfortable fit. But more important, the local faith community offered opportunity for ministry. And when the deacon class formed, Evansville. "Bishop Gettelfinger is very interested, concerned and attentive to how to best use deacons in meeting spiritual needs of the community." joy Franklin firmly states that even within a parish deacons are very different from a priest's vocation. He reminds local Catholics that "we don't want to destroy the ministry by rele- gating it to a role never intend- ed and that makes no sense." As with all in ministry, Franklin's joys and his strug- gles continue. He struggles when he is weak and falls into are trying to control situations. "At times you want to intervene but are powerless. You want to help but that's not how it works out. New Vatican documents discuss formation of perma to talk with --MessagO! You have to happen," the c ministry die." Prayer to God opment and vision, the a dialog wi ( ly waits By CINDY WOODEN Catholic News Service VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Per- manent deacons are ordained ministers whose spiritual and intellectual preparation must pre- pare them to be models of Christ the servant, said two new Vatican documents. The permanent diaconate is a vocation sealed by the Sacra- ment of Holy Orders, which is reserved to men, Vatican offi- cials said during their March 10 presentation of the documents. The Vatican published "Fun- damental Norms for the Forma- tion of Permanent Deacons," by the Congregation for Catholic Education, and the "Directory for the Ministry and Life of Per- manent Deacons," by the Con- gregation for Clergy, together in a single 144-page volume avail- able only in Italian. Cardinal Pio Laghi, head of the education congregation, said the documents were not aimed at any abuses, but were published in order to ensure consistency in the training and ministry of dea- cons around the world. After centuries in which the diaconate was only a transition- al phase before the priesthood, the Second Vatican Council called for a reinstitution of the permanent diaconate. Cardinal Laghi said there are currently'22,390 permanent dea- cons in the world, more than of them ministering in the United States. In the investiga- tion and consultation phases of preparing the documents, he said, "were we very inspired" by the norms already published by the U.S. bishops. "Now we are trying to ensure the norms are homogenous throughout the church," he said. At the Vatican press confer- ence for the presentation of the documents, Cardinal Laghi and other Vatican officials were asked about the possibility of a return to the early Christian community's practice of having deaconesses. Cardinal Laghi said New Tes- tament evidence and the con- stant tradition of the church suggest that the women referred to as deaconesses in the Bible were blessed by church leaders, but not sacramentally ordained. The deaconesses, he said, "received a blessing, but not a sacrament as far as we know according to historical research." The sacramental configura- tion to Christ, he said, always has been reserved to men, whether in the role of deacon, pri .est or bishop. Archbishop Jose Saraiva Mar- tins, secretary of the education congregation, said the docu- ments of Pope Paul VI and Pope John Paul II on reserving the sacrament of Holy Orders to men would seem to rule out the reintroduction of deaconesses in the church. "The diaconal character is a configurative, distinctive sign indelibly inscribed on the soul, which configures the ordinand to Christ, who made himself a deacon, that is the servant of all," the document on formation said. Especially regarding Scrip- ture, theology and pastoral practice, it said, the permanent deacon's training must be much closer to that of a priest than that of a catechist. Potential candidates for the diaconate should be enrolled in a preparatory program intro- ducing them to various kinds of prayer, a deeper understanding of what the diaconate is and a general introduction to church teaching, it said. The formation program fol- lowing the preparatory phase must last at least three years and must indude regular one-on-one meetings between the candidate and an approved spiritual direc- tor. The program should include at least 1,000 hours of lectures and seminars in Catholic theolo- gy, morality and social teaching. Recognizing the fact that the vast majority of permanent dea- cons are married, the docu- ments called for the active involvement of wives in their husbands' formation journey and urged bishops to establish programs to help prepare women to appreciate and sup- Shetler Storage Evansville, Indiana 812-421:7750 ii. i i i i , i port their husbands' ministry. The document on a deacon's con's life and ministry emphasized the fact that he is ordained for and incardinated in a diocese to serve the entire local church, and not just his parish. A deacon's life and ministry must flow from a spirituality which is intensely prayerful and which clearly shows that his ser- party or vice at the altar and his preach- -motes ing of the Gospel are the source of t of the charity he exercises toward One the poor and suffering, it said. ried "The specific vocation of the bring to permanent dioconate presup- world is poses stability in this order," the t document said. "Therefore, a tion, and seriouS! Unlike document : cons are cal February 27, March 6, 13, 21 4:30 - 7:30 [ CATFISH Dinner includes fried or baked, large, veggies, drink, cornbrcad or our famous chcCS _ $6.00 adults & youth over $2. O0 Family 1 child, (under 10) (chicken nuggets or small fish & all NATIVITY 3635 Pollack (bttwea S. Green Ril, cr Road 476-71 16 FRIDAYS OF Fish