23 Jun 2012

24th June 2011 - Solemnity of the Nativity of John the Baptist - Permanent Diaconate

On this weeks programme we are joined by Br Martin Browne OSB from Glenstal monastery to discuss the permanent diaconate. We have our regular reflection on the Sunday gospel as well as some celestial guides for the coming week and local notices.

The podcast for this weeks programme is available HERE.

The Emmanuel Community Youth Forum

Anna McNevin joins us for a few moments on this mornings programme to tell us about the international Youth Forum from 3rd to 8th August 2012 which is being hosted by the Emmanuel Community in Altotting which is the spiritual heart of Bavaria in Germany.  

The Forum, a word taken from latin and meaning something like ‘marketplace’ takes place the heart of the town, in the central square, in the open air. Young people are invited to come and celebrate in Altötting. The European Youth Forum is a Catholic summer meeting for young people! The Forum will be in English and German with translation to several other languages.

Further information about the European Youth Forum is available HERE.

Contact: info@emmanuelcommunity.ie before 10th July 2012.

The Permanent Diaconate

"The deacon is one who waits. He is never in charge. He is the servant of others — of God, of his bishop, of the congregation. He is a voice: it is his task to read the Lord’s Gospel, not his own . . . He is a servant: it is his task to wait at the Lord’s table. . .It is others who preside; he is the waiter, the attendant. Is there anything at all that is peculiar to the deacon? Is he given powers that are given to no one else? The answer is ‘No.’ There is nothing he can do which nobody else can do. But that is just what is distinctive about him. He has no power. He is a servant. He is entrusted with the ministry of Christ who washes his servants’ feet. He embodies the service of the Lord who has made himself the servant of all.”  - Deacons and the Church by Owen F. Cummings (Paulist Press, New York)

Br Martin Brown OSB joins us on this weeks programme to discuss the restoration of the permanent diaconate to the Irish diocesan church fifty years after Pope Paul VI restored it to the universal church at the Second Vatican Council.

Br Martin is a monk of Glenstal Abbey and is also a permanent deacon who works as the headmaster to the Glenstal Abbey School. He joins John and Shane on this mornings programme to discuss what exactly the diaconate is and its role in the ministry of the church.

The diaconate is seen as the public manifestation of the servant nature of the church. Deacons are ordained ministers of the church who also serve in a liturgical function.

"The restoration of the ministry of permanent deacons is somehow looked on in terms of what the deacon can or cannot do compared with the priest and ministry of the deacon is looked on as some sort of second-class ministry. People who speak or write in this framework fail to understand the deaconate and fail to understand ministry. The order of deacons is not just about doing things; it is a call to be configured in a special way to Jesus who serves and to represent in a special way in the life of the Church Jesus who serves." - Archbishop Diarmuid Martin 

The Acts of the Apostles describes how, in the first century, the Church was faced with the challenge of responding to the needs of those who were at risk of being marginalised, either through culture or through material poverty. Keeping in mind the example of Jesus, the Apostles selected and ordained a number of men specifically for this service.

For a number of centuries, deacons ministered in close co-operation with the bishops of the Church, assisting at the Eucharist, preaching the Gospel, and exercising a ministry of charity. Francis of Assisi, founder of the Franciscan Orders, is probably one of the best known deacons, though many tend to assume that he was a priest. Gradually, in the Western Church, the functions of deacons were absorbed into the ministry of the priest, and the diaconate became a transitional order, for those on the way to priesthood. The diaconate continued to exist as a permanent ministry in the Eastern Churches, including those in full communion with Rome.

The Second Vatican Council envisaged a renewal of ministry, both lay and ordained, in the Church. The Council’s Constitution on the Church, Lumen Gentium, explains that the lay faithful, by virtue of their Baptism, are commissioned to an active apostolate and insists that “every opportunity be given them so that, according to their abilities and the needs of the times, they may zealously participate in the saving work of the Church. The Second Vatican Council also proposed the restoration of the diaconate as a “distinct ministry of service” to be exercised “in communion with the bishop and his group of priests”.

Many of the functions which deacons perform can also be carried out by members of the lay faithful. The restoration of the diaconate is not intended in any sense to change that situation. The idea is that some of those who already exercise these functions would be “strengthened with the grace of diaconal ordination” and in that way would be designated to be a visible public sign of the Christ the Servant in the community of the Church.

Deacons are ordained to service, to charity and to proclaim  the Word.

Other links and information on the permanent diaconate:
Deacons who blog:
Br Martin's reflection/discussion is extracted from the main programme and is available HERE.

Gospel - Luke 1: 57 - 66, 80

This weeks gospel is taken from the beginning of St Luke's gospel and recounts the events surrounding the birth of St John the Baptist. John will be the voice in the wilderness proclaiming the way of the Messiah but today we celebrate a very human event, the birth and naming of a baby boy. It is a celebration of great joy; something which many of us can empathise with. But also asks the questions to us, have we "celebrated" the many gifts that God has given to us? John was a gift to his parents in their old age; we have received many gifts and blessings in our lives and one of the questions posed to us by today's gospel is whether we have reflected and given thanks and celebrated the gifts we have received.

The other thought that strikes us in this weeks gospel is the naming of John by his mother which is echoed by his father. Each of us is called and named; at baptism we are called into the family of God; we are named for God and reminded that we are loved by God!

From the Limerick Diocesan Weekly Newsletter:

This Sunday we celebrate the birth of John the Baptist, of whom the people said 'Who then will this child be?' This is one of the oldest feasts in the church and surely one we can all associate with.  
A much longed for child is born, family & friends descend to celebrate the happy event, a name is discussed & decided upon (by the parents!), and the child is placed under Gods protection. Like us, Elizabeth and Zechariah had deep love and high hopes for their child. Like us, they did not know what the future might hold, so they could not promise John a perfect life. Thus they brought John to God for Gods blessing - as we bring our children to God in the Sacrament of Baptism.  
Speaking to parents of infants for Baptism in 2006, Pope Benedict said: "What do we hope for from Baptism? ... We hope for eternal life for our children. ...In simpler words, ... we hope for a good life, the true life, for these children of ours; and also for happiness in a future that is still unknown. We are unable to guarantee this gift for the entire span of the unknown future, so we turn to the Lord to obtain this gift from him. ... No one of us knows what will happen on our planet, on our European Continent, in the next 50, 60 or 70 years. But we can be sure of one thing: God's family will always be present and those who belong to this family will never be alone. They will always be able to fall back on the steadfast friendship of the One who is life." (Jan 9th 2006, Rome)  
Todays we pray for all parents & guardians & those who care for our children. May God, who is the giver of all life, human and divine, bless them. May each of us be also the best of teachers to these children, bearing witness to the faith by what we say and what we do, in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Other reflections on this weeks gospel:

Word on Fire
English Dominicans
Centre for Liturgy
Sunday Reflection
The Carmelites
Dominican Nuns of Summit, NJ

Saints of the Week

June 25th - Saint Domingo Henares de Zafra Cubero
June 26th - Saint Josemaria Escriva
June 27th - Saint Cyril of Alexandria
June 28th - Saint Irenaeus of Lyons
June 29th - Feast of Ss Peter and Paul
June 30th - First Martyrs of Rome

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