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Part Three – Life of a Deacon

3.1 Deacon Life in General

Depending upon his state in life, the priorities of the deacon are  generally considered to be: family, career and ministry, in that order.

Family First and foremost, the deacon is a member of a family whether married or single.  His commitment to family is to be considered in every choice of ministry assignment, service to the diaconal community and participation in the ordinary calling within that community.  Every effort should be made to allow the deacon to fulfill the duties of his ministry and of his service to the deacon community in light of his family situation.

Career The deacon has the responsibility to provide support for himself and for those to whom he is responsible.  His work status has a priority over his ministerial responsibilities.  Every effort should be made by the deacon to be available for his diaconal duties and participation within the deacon community without jeopardizing his status to provide for his family.  In considering the priorities of family and career, when these priorities become such that the deacon's ministry cannot be fulfilled, consideration should be given for a leave of absence.  If, during any interview, it appears that the deacon cannot fulfill his diaconal commitments, the personnel board may conduct a follow-up interview and suggest a leave of absence.

Ministry All deacons are expected to make themselves available for service on the various councils, commissions, boards and committees of the Archdiocese of Baltimore. Within reason, when the deacon is away for an extended period of time(vacation, sickness, etc) he should be able to be contacted by the parish/agency to which he is assigned. Normally,such special contact should be limited to special/emergency needs of the parish/agency.  Each deacon will initiate a Ministry Agreement with the supervisor of the parish/agency to which he is assigned.  This document should be in concert with the Archbishop's assignment providing mutual benefit by clearly stating the expectations of both parties concerning specific responsibilities, the collegial structure of the ministry, and hours of service.  The deacon will schedule a review of his Ministry Agreement with his supervisor annually. Either the deacon or his supervisor may request a review of the Ministry Agreement at any time during the year.  In the event that the supervisor is changed during the year, the Ministry Agreement is reviewed.  A sample Ministry Agreement is included in Appendix C.

3.2 Attire

The customary attire for a deacon is secular clothing.  Clerical attire is not ordinary dress for a deacon.  The use of clerical attire is normally limited to the special circumstances of certain ministries (i.e., prison, hospital work, etc) where some evidence of clerical association is suggested/required by the institution or deemed to be appropriate or of benefit by the deacon's supervisor. As ordained clergy and public ministers in the Church, the deacon is expected to dress appropriately for all Archdiocesan and parish/agency functions. When exercising a liturgical role or function, deacons would wear the appropriate liturgical vesture of alb, stole, and in some cases, dalmatic.

3.3 Compensation

Deacons who receive remuneration by reason of the secular livelihood that they exercise or have exercised are to take care of their own and their family's needs from the income derived from this source and, ordinarily,  should not receive a salary from their diaconal assignment.

Deacons who devote themselves completely to the ecclesiastical ministry deserve a remuneration by which they can provide for their own support and that of their families. When deacons are employed in full-time positions in Archdiocesan agencies (e.g. Central Services, Catholic Charities, parishes) they are to be compensated according to the policies for lay employees. Their salary is determined according to the appropriate lay scale and their benefit package parallels that of lay employees.

Expenses incurred by deacons in the exercise of their ministry should be recompensed by the agency, institution, parish, or diocese for which the ministry is undertaken. (Funding to support the deacon's ongoing formation is addressed in section 6.3).

Voluntary offerings given in relation to liturgical service are normally to be rendered to the parish/agency.

3.4 Public Offices & Trade

While the Code of Canon Law permits deacons to hold political office, a deacon should consult with the Ordinary before seeking or accepting such an office. [Canon 285.3] 3.5 Forms of Address

The customary form of address for permanent deacons is "Deacon  N" or "Mr. N".

3.6 Absence of Ministry

In addition to scheduled vacations,time away from diaconal ministry is provided as necessary (i.e., temporary change of job location, special assignments, special personal or family needs, etc).  All absences from the ministry site shall be taken after consultation with the supervisor.   If absences extend beyond a month, the Division of the Clergy Personnel must be notified.

3.7 Wills and Funeral Instructions

Every deacon of the Archdiocese must file a funeral instruction in accordance with the "Deacon Funeral Guidelines & Instruction Form" (See Appendix D). Any changes or adjustments in the deacon's funeral instructions may be made at any time by notifying the Clergy Personnel Office.

3.8 Civil Courts

Before initiating any civil, criminal or ecclesiastical action that involves individuals, juridical persons, civil corporations, and the patrimony of the Archdiocese of Baltimore or the Church in general, either on his own behalf or on behalf of anyone for whom he is an agent, the deacon must consult and advise the Chancellor of the Archdiocese.

Deacons are expected to participate fully if called upon to serve on Jury Duty. The deacon must inform appropriate civic officials of his status as a cleric.

Archdiocesan Norms –Part Three

  • Deacons are always to be available for contact from their ministry site even when away for an extended period.
  • Each active deacon will initiate a Ministry Agreement.
  • The customary attire for a deacon is secular clothing.
  • When deacons are employed in full-time positions in Archdiocesan agencies (e.g. Central Services, Catholic Charities, parishes) they are to be compensated according to the policies for lay employees.
  • Expenses incurred by deacons in the exercise of their ministry should be recompensed by their ministry site.
  • A deacon should consult with the Ordinary before seeking or accepting a political office.
  • The customary form of address for permanent deacons is "Deacon N" or "Mr. N".
  • Every deacon of the Archdiocese must file a funeral instruction.
  • Deacons are expected to participate fully if called upon to serve on Jury Duty.