(www.deaconden.org) Usually Deacon Day is celebrated on the Feast of Saint Lawrence our Patron Saint. I think, this year, it is particularly special that we celebrate the Memorial of the ones St. Lawrence called father and brothers.
Personally, I believe the reason for the delay in the martyrdom of St. Lawrence was that his executioners knew it would be a punishment for him not to be martyred along with his Bishop and brother Deacons. It was also likely that his captors were rather upset with St. Lawrence over presenting the poor to them as the treasures of the Roman Church. I also believe that Pope Sixtus and the 4 Deacon Companions would have done the same thing as St. Lawrence, as they were like minded in their service to the Church and the People of God
From all indications, the early Catholic Church lived by the foundation that the Deacon was the eyes, the ears, the mouth and the heart of their Bishop. These words are found in the Apostolic Constitution on Deacons. This means that when Deacons minister, others witness the Bishop’s ministry or diakonia. Put in the proper context, this is also true for us today.
When a Deacon seeks out the neglected, the lost and the disenfranchised he is looking through the eyes of the Archbishop. Through our ministry, we are tasked to seek these people out, looking even in the crevices and the far corners of the Archdiocese. Our Diaconate within the Archdiocese continues to expand in these areas, as we further integrate our ministry into the charitable works of the Archdiocese, at the same time providing a more positive presence in the hospitals, prisons and shelters.
Indeed, Deacons should be always alert, listening with the ears of our Spiritual Father for the cry of the poor as they beg for help and communion with the Church. Some of these prayers come from the midst of the assembly at the Liturgy as their sufferings are made known to God through prayers and petitions, but how many prayers remain unspoken from those who feel alienated from the body of Christ? In particular, the Deacon is the one who is “missioned” to know the burdens and pleas of the faithful and the lost. That is why it is so gratifying that the response to the Archbishop’s request for an increased diaconal presence in the advocacy program was immediately answered by 96 of us. These requests from our Archbishop are built on the need to listen and respond with the ears of the Church; to help and assist those who yearn for communion with God and His Bride.
We are the mouth of Our Shepherd when we stand up for the oppressed and voiceless…when we protest and pray for those destined to be dismembered and sorted in a petri dish. Our voice, the Bishop’s voice, must be heard and heard repeatedly and loudly as if a host of trumpets were bringing down the walls that block us from reaching the children and women who plead for mercy. This is also particularly true for those who are silenced through fear, human trafficking, prostitution and child abuse-those enslaved and robbed of human dignity and freedom. We should also make our prayer for these endangered ones a priority. Please especially plan on participating in the August 28th day of prayer and fasting that Archbishop Aquila and Bishops Sheridan and Berg have promoted to all people of good will. We must be aggressive in challenging our government leaders to stop this madness and recognize every person as a child of God.
We are the heart of our Archbishop when we display the mercy and compassion of Our Savior to those who are brokenhearted and in despair. It is the heart of the Archbishop that is present when we visit with newlyweds and new parents and as we teach and preach the Gospel. But to speak clearly with the assistance of the Holy Spirit means that we must continually study, learn and pray so that our heart is aligned with the heart of our Pastor. Our newly formalized post ordination training is meant to improve the skills and knowledge of those who have recently entered into a fraternal relationship as brother Deacons. We are hopeful that many of these opportunities will be carried forward into the regional meetings so that all Deacons can reap the benefits of review and reflection.
Of course, it must be our constant practice to ask for Mary’s intercession as we pray for our Archbishop and his intentions and for the courage to take action in caring for his flock. And his flock includes the poor, the homeless, the marginalized … the same type of people who were protected by our patron, St. Lawrence at the gates of Rome as the warriors of Valerian confronted him. These are the treasures that stand before us at the gates of the Church of Denver. They are the Archbishop’s flock.
O Lord, may our eyes be opened to the lost, our ears attuned to the poor, our mouths a voice for the voiceless and our hearts filled with the Holy Spirit that we may never neglect the souls of our poor, even if we are put to the test. Pope St Sixtus and his companions, pray for us.
For more pictures on Deacon Day you can go to the dropbox website at:
Thanks goes out to Deacon Rick Martin and his wife, Jan who traveled to Denver from Dayton, Ohio to be with us. We miss you both.