A Unique Approach
The primary goal of Diaconal Ministries is to fulfill the mission of the Church (Mt 28:19) in light of the Second Vatican Council using Pope John Paul II's personalist approach. In this way, the diaconate provides a unique and irreplaceable contribution to Christ saving work complementing that of bishops and priests. Such an approach allows for the totus Christus (the whole Christ) to be made present in a way thoroughly consistent with Divine Revelation.
Diaconal Ministries begins not with what deacons do, but with who they are. This is the most fundamental question, because unless deacons are grounded in Christ the Servant, to whom they were ontologically configured on the day of their ordination, their unique contribution to the mission of the Church will be greatly diminished.
Through workshops, retreats, presentations and resources, Diaconal Ministries help deacons to more fully tap into the grace of their ordination, to grow in greater intimacy with Jesus Christ and, in the very process, become more fully who they are.
This process, borrowed and modified from the Institute of Priestly Formation and the thought of Fr. Richard Gabuzda, is three-fold. It is centered on contemplation of the Servant Mysteries
You, dear brothers, belong to the life of the Church that goes back to saintly dea-cons, like Lawrence, and before him to Stephen and his companions, whom the Acts of the Apostles con-sider “deeply spiritual and prudent” (Act. 6, 3). This is at the very heart of the diaconate to which you have been called: to be a servant of the mysteries of Christ and, at one and the same time, to be a servant of your brothers and sisters. That these two dimensions are inseparably joined together in one reality shows the important nature of the min-istry which is yours by ordination.
Pope John Paul II
Address to Deacons
Ford Auditorium, Detroit
Saturday, 19 September 1987
The Servant Mysteries reveal divine servanthood (how God serves humanity) as expressed in Sacred Scripture, the Tradition and the Magisterium. It is most fully realized in Christ Himself who came not to be served, but to serve (Mk 10:45). Through His incarnation, ministry, passion, death and resur-rection, Jesus is the Divine Servant providing the pattern upon which all deacons are configured and upon which all service is modeled.
By ongoing contemplation of the Servant Mysteries and though perfection in the interior life, deacons deepen their relationship with Christ. This deepening
gives rise to a more profound sense of identity. This more profound sense of identity, in turn, gives rise to a clearer sense of mission.
This three-fold approach is ongoing insofar as once the deacon exercises this clear sense of his misson, he reencounters Christ strengthening his relationship, deepening his idedntity and further clarifying his mission.