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The Synod as a Participation of the Whole Church Synodality embodies the Church's essence as the People of God, emphasizing a communal journey and assembly in the spirit of communion, under the guidance of Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit, to fulfill the Church's evangelizing mission. It transcends mere ecclesiastical meetings or administrative functions, representing the Church's fundamental way of living and working together. This approach highlights the intrinsic value of every member of the Church in contributing to its mission, making the absence of deacons particularly significant.


The Importance of a Diaconal Voice Deacons, as ordained ministers serving in the diaconate, play a unique role in linking the Church’s sacramental life with its call to service, embodying the Church's call to serve the needy and marginalized. Our absence would thus leave a critical gap, depriving the Church of the full expression of its identity as a community of service and witness, where all orders and states of life are called to participate actively in its mission. The presence of deacons is essential to fully represent the Church's nature as a communion of persons, each contributing distinct gifts and services to the Church's mission.

The Letter In our endeavor to humbly highlight the absence of the diaconate in our Church's dialogue, we are preparing to send a heartfelt letter to His Eminence Cardinal Mario Grech, General Secretary of the Synod of Bishops. After you've had a chance to read the letter below, should you feel moved to join us in this respectful gesture, we warmly invite you to express your support by clicking the button below.


Not a Petition Understand, this gesture is not a petition but rather a symbol of our collective respect, support, and our shared commitment to prayerfully accompany the Church through the Synodal Process. If you choose to stand with us in this effort, we will be honored to include your name alongside this letter when it is presented to Cardinal Grech on May 1, 2024. Your participation would deeply signify our unity and heartfelt support for the invaluable role of the diaconate within our Church.

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His Eminence Cardinal Mario Grech
General Secretary of the Synod of Bishops
00120 Vatican City State


Re: Diaconal Participation in the Synod

Your Eminence, Cardinal Mario Grech,

I pray this letter finds you in good health and high spirits. My name is Dominic Cerrato, a permanent deacon/theologian in the United States. I had the honor of being appointed to the 2020 Papal Commission on Women and the Diaconate.

Reflecting on the recent 16th Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops, I noticed that deacons, as a distinct order, were not represented in the universal phase of this vital gathering. Despite the vibrant presence of over 450 dedicated bishops, priests, religious, and lay Catholics, the absence of deacons in these discussions was felt deeply among the order.

As you are aware, deacons are sent to the periphery in hospitals and nursing homes, in jails and prisons, in food kitchens and among the poor. And as importantly these men, most of whom are married, remain professionally embedded in the secular world, bringing the evangelizing grace of ordination to the spheres of manual labor, schools, law enforcement, teaching and more. They are numbered among those who have the “smell of the sheep,” as the Holy Father likes to say. Because we are clerics who live a lay life, we move from the sanctuary, into the nave, and out into the world, giving us unique access and insight among the marginalized. In this respect, and in a complementary manner to others who participate in the Synod, deacons can add a depth, dimension and texture to the broader conversation, enriching it at the same time. This is particularly relevant as discussions will take place concerning the diaconate.


With great respect and deference, the following deacons would like to humbly propose for your prayerful consideration the inclusion of permanent deacons in future synodal gatherings. Such an inclusion would make Christ the Servant, to whom deacons were ontologically configured on the day of their ordination, sacramentally present, reminding the participants that the Church is, at her core, a servant Church.

Thank you for your consideration concerning this matter. Be assured of our prayers.

Your Servant in Christ,

Deacon Dominic Cerrato, Ph.D.

Sent Out May 1, 2024

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