From the good people at Our Sunday Visitor, here’s a terrific piece by Brian Fraga on deacons (and it features a few names you might recognize):
A permanent deacon will almost always volunteer his time if someone asks him to help out with something around the parish.
“If someone says, ‘Deacon, can you come do this?’ Our first reaction is gonna be, ‘Sure.’ By nature, none of us is going to say no to anything,” said Deacon William Ditewig, a permanent deacon in the Archdiocese of Washington, D.C.
That spirit of selfless service is part of a deacon’s vocation, but it sometimes gets him in trouble, especially if he’s married.
“If you ask my wife, she would say one of the biggest problems I cause is that I do not set aside a day where I say, ‘Nope, this is our day,’” said Deacon Don Weigel, who was ordained a permanent deacon for the Diocese of Buffalo almost 10 years ago.
Deacon Weigel, who is assigned to the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary Church in Clarence, New York, told Our Sunday Visitor that he has tried to carve out a day off for himself and his family, but often slips back into the habit of saying “yes” to everything.
“It’s something I’m aware of. I owe that to our marriage,” Deacon Weigel said.
Balancing one’s responsibilities to his wife, children and a full-time job is not something the celibate priests in the Latin-rite Church have to worry about. But for permanent deacons, who are often married when they get ordained, carrying out their ministry and being an attentive husband and father can be a tough juggling act.
“When I was in formation, some people used to say that your priorities should go like, ‘Your family first, your job second and your ministry third,’” Deacon Weigel said. “Well, that’s just not true. That’s just not how it works.”
Deacon Greg Kandra, who is in the Diocese of Brooklyn, New York, recalls hearing similar advice when he was in formation about 15 years ago.
“Every deacon knows it doesn’t always work out that way,” Deacon Kandra said. “Very often that order gets shuffled, and it’s challenging to really find that balance. It takes a lot of prayer, a lot of understanding from your spouse, your family and sometimes your boss to make it all work.”