The Greek word diákonos, which translates as “servant”, found its way into Late Latin as diacŏnus. In our language the notion arrived as deacon, a concept that is used in the field of religion.
A deacon is called an ecclesiastic who, according to the Christian branch, can fulfill different functions. Usually the deacon is in charge of providing assistance to the priest during the celebration of the mass.
It is, in this context, a degree lower than that obtained by the religious who receives the sacrament of Holy Orders. Saint Francis of Assisi, Saint Lawrence, and Saint Stephen are some historical figures in Christianity who were deacons. See Abbreviation Finder for acronyms related to deacon.
The Second Vatican Council was dedicated to defining the position of deacons in the structure of the Catholic Church, pointing out that they are in charge of receiving the imposition of hands in order of ministry, not priesthood. A deacon serves the faithful in charity, word, and liturgy.
Many are the people who come to confuse what the deacon is with the priest. For this reason, it is necessary to discover their main differences, among which we can highlight the following:
-While the priest does have the so-called sacramental powers, the deacon does not.
-The priest can officiate the great majority of the sacraments and the deacon cannot. However, the latter may be allowed to conduct a funeral. In a mass he will be in charge of, for example, reading the Gospel.
-The priest uses different types and colors of clothing based on the ceremony he is going to officiate or his degree. However, the deacon always wears a dalmatic and a double-breasted stole.
In addition to all of the above, we cannot overlook another series of aspects related to the deacon, among which are the following:
-Your service is to the word of God and the Eucharist as well as in favor of charity, peace and justice.
-As a general rule, the formation that a man must undergo to become a deacon is made up of three phases or stages: the aspirancy, which lasts nine months; the candidacy, which lasts four years and is a very intense training period; continuous diaconal formation, which comes to refer to what is the entire active period of that. A formation where the spiritual as well as the pastoral and the human will be fundamental.
It is possible to differentiate between the transitional deacon and the permanent deacon. The transitional deacon is given the ministry for a limited time and is then ordained a priest by the bishop. The permanent deacon, on the other hand, maintains that degree, which is why this ordination can be conferred on men who have contracted marriage.
The Orthodox Church, the Coptic Church and the Anglican Church also have deacons, usually dedicated to assisting the community in various ways. In the case of Anglican deacons, they can marry after ordination, unlike the case of Catholic and Orthodox deacons.