Today we celebrate the Feast of St. Lawrence. Lawrence was a deacon who was martyred in the year 258. He was roasted to death on a gridiron and even told his tormentors to turn him over when he was done on one side. In honor of St. Lawrence, I want to honor deacons today. Here is the chapter in A Minute in the Church: The Mass on The Deacon. The next time you see a deacon, thank him for his service to Christ and His Church!
While only a priest can offer Mass, you may often see another man dressed in vestments assisting the priest – the deacon.
There are a couple of easy ways to tell the difference between the priest and the deacon. While the priest wears his stole around his neck, the deacon’s stole is worn across the left shoulder and fastens on his right side. The deacon may also wear an outer garment that resembles the priest’s chasuble. The deacon’s outer garment is called a dalmatic and it has sleeves.
The ministry of the deacon is one of service. He is there to assist bishops or priests in their ministry. At Mass, if a deacon is assisting, he will be the one to proclaim the Gospel. The deacon may also give the homily, prepare the altar for the Eucharist, help with the distribution of Holy Communion and cleansing of the vessels used at Mass. The deacon also calls the assembly to prayer, and offers the prayers of the faithful.
In addition to his duties at Mass, the deacon can also baptize, assist at and bless marriages and preside over funerals. A transitional deacon is a celibate man who is anticipating ordination to the priesthood. A permanent deacon is often, though not always, a married man who remains a deacon for life.
For further study
To order a copy of A Minute in the Church: The Mass, go to www.GusLloyd.com today!