Most of us know that our Holy Father, Pope Francis, chose to be called after St. Francis of Assisi. Many of us assume that St Francis was a priest. Rather, St. Francis was a deacon who beautifully lived his ordination of “diakonia” of service to others, especially the poor.
His service was rooted in the deacons of the early Church who served “at table” tending to the corporal needs of the growing faithful. A restored diaconate continues its pastoral service today as well as liturgical service and worship connecting a ministry of word and a ministry of service.
This ministry of service and word is the ministry of the first deacons of the early Church such as St. Stephen, of St. Francis in the 12th century and of deacons today as we have embarked on the next decade of this millennium in 2020.
St. Francis as deacon preached, tended to the poor, and – above all – loved. Indeed, he loved all of God’s creation. St. Francis serves as a model for our deacons today and for all of us of how to live, how to act and how to “be” culminating in his famous attribution, “Preach the gospel at all times. When necessary, use words.” Following this example, deacons today are called to renew and strengthen their love of God and his people. Deacons enter in their own unique mode into Christ’s mission for the Church, as we all hope to do in the Pope’s Worldwide Prayer Network.
- Deacon John Krenson
Pope’s Worldwide Prayer Network (USA & Canada)