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July 9, 1993     The Message
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The Message -- for Catholics of Southwestern Indiana July 9 Diaconate " i Series explores the 'restoration' of the permanent diaconate Special role of deacons obscured for centuries By FATHER JOHN MOORE Special to the Message In the years that followed the Apostolic age, the diaconate became a recognized and important office in the Church, a full part of the three- fold hierarchy of orders: bishops, priests and deacons. Deacons performed many func- tions -- but, as the contemporary theologian Karl Rahner says, under- lying all of their activities was the understanding that they were "to help those who directed the Church." Thus the diaconate emerged as a ministry that freed the bishops and presbyters of their more secular and temporal duties. More specifically, deacons worked in three major areas: liturgical, doc- trinal and charitable. In regard to the liturgy, they fulfilled such roles as proclaiming the Gospel at Mass, as- sisting the celebrant at the altar, dis- tributing Communion and directing the prayers of the congregation. Teaching duties included giving instructions to the Christian commu- nity and to catechumens, the prospective converts to Christianitv. In regard to charity, the deacons' work consisted of determining the material needs of the community and A third century work, Didascalia Apostolorum, de- scribes the deacon as the bishop's "ears... and his mouth and his soul and his heart." Thus in the early centuries of the Church the deacon is envisioned as a true minister of service and an active link between the bishop and his flock. Deacon Stephen Hall Jr.: 'Serving is the key' Stephen Hall Jr. R.R. 2, Box 115A Fort Branch, IN 47648 (812) 753-4222 Profession/occupation: Insurance agent Assignment: Deacon at St. Bernard Church, Gibson County, and Holy Cross Church, Fort Branch cepts donations for charity. "My customers are giving more for their haircuts than when I was charging them," he said. He was ordained a deacon August 3, 1985. STEPHEN HALL Deacon Stephen and Patri- cia Hall have six children: Linda Doerner of Princeton, Sharon Dewig of Owensville, Jeff of Fort Branch, Joe of Marion, Ky., Stephen of Fort Branch and Rick of Chicago; and 14 grandchildren, Deacon Hall was born Nov. 21, 1928. He is a native of Evansville, where he at- tended Memorial High School. He was a medic in the United States Navy from 1946 to 1948, He is a licensed barber and operated a barber shop for several years; he was an insurance agent at an Evansville office for 41 years. Now as an insurance agent, he works from his office at home. Deacon Hall continues to cut hair on a part time basis, on Saturdays -- which he said has been part of his rain- Describe your ministry as a deacon: Deacon Hall visits patients at hospitals and residents of nursing homes: he makes Communion calls. He preaches the homily at Mass once a month at each parish St. Bernard and Holy Cross. He works at two soup kitchens, and he is als-o a Hospice Care vohmteer. "The part I enjoy most about being a deacon is help- ing people," He said, in a re- cent interview for the South Gibson Star-Times. "Everything I do I really enjoy doing. Serving is the key." Describe your most re- warding moments as a dea- con: Listed among the great mo- ments as a deacon are the fol- lowing: officiating at the wed- dings of a son, two nieces, a nephew and several neigh- bors; baptizing seven of his grandchildren and several personal friends, serving as a deacon at the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadeloupe in Mex- ico City, at St. James Church istry for the past 10 years. He in Medjugorje, and in L0ur- ,. gi,is:uta,fQ ffe, but c: .... dand.F, at ................ distributing assistance. This area of ministerial service became the hall- mark of the diaconate. It is also obvious from histori- cal testimony that at all times the deacon had a very special link with the head of the local church, the bishop. In many ways the deacon be- ,..-_ I came the bishop's me- diator and go-between. A third century work, Didascalia Apostolo- rum, describes the dea- con as the bishop's "ears . . . and his mouth and his soul and his heart." Thus in the early centuries of the Church the deacon is en- visioned as a true minister of service and an active link be- tween the bishop and his flock. Tile deacon reported to the bishop on the needs of the community and, in re- turn, brought the response and assistance of tile bishop to those in need and want. However, as the diaconate flour- ished in the early life of the Church, signs of decay began to appear. There were a number of reasons why the diaconate fell into decline in the Western Church. The whole concept of the 'archdeacon' indicates the inner struggle that took stitutions became fc early, history of the 'care deacons' is a clear an overemphasis on th0 con's liturgical role at the pense of his other functions. At the same time, th0 istry of servic0 / deacon began !I ]1 I II taken over by II 1 Ii and laity. I1 ]]  midst of all tr. // / special rolel // deacon was lostS //-/ __, a!d the need fs / .  flce became' ,  less clear. Althou /,/  diaconate linger II  _for many cen II  varied forms c I I sion, by the Midd] I I had become for all II pTeoses wh00," I I mained until very .......J I namelv, a prepa: for the prlesthc became, as Rahner sayS, close to a "legal fiction," as it was rarely more than a the way to becoming a priest. Next week: World War, Mistsia needs sped diaconate movernes ' PRINCIPAL Suburban, Catholic K-8 school in Evansville, Indiana is accepting appli Principal. We have 320 students, an excellent faculty, and strong parental suPP  We are looking for an active Catholic with a School Administration License five years teaching experience. Please submit resume to Holy Redeemer Parish  rice, 918 W. Mill Road, Evansville, IN 47710. (812-424-8344.) Ministry De is available. Fr. Dewig Msgr. Meyer and the people of Sacred Heart church, Evansville, invite you to attend Sacred Heart Ch SUMMER SUNDAY . JULY 18 On the Parish Grounds West Franklin Street and Mt. Vernon Avenue Chicken or Ham Dinners With Dressing and Dumplings will be served beginning at 11:00 a.m. in our air-conditioned cafeteria. Carryouts will also be available. Over $1,900 In Cash And Prizes WILL BE GIVEN AWAY! FUN FOR THE WHOLE FAMILY! Xc Crafts Quilts  ii;!