Saturday, December 3, 2011

"When I grow up I want to be a Deacon!" Thanks, Elizabeth!

Some time ago, a prolific author named Elizabeth Ficocelli contacted me about a manuscript she had written for children on the diaconate.  She asked if I would take a look at the manuscript, and it was joy to do so!  That book, which Deacon Greg Kandra has already announced, has now been published and is available.  Elizabeth was recently interviewed about her work, and you may read more about that here and here.  It's called Where Do Deacons Come From? and it's published by Bezalel Books.

In the interview, she remarks that "Deacon Greg Kandra recently blogged that his friend, Deacon William Ditewig, had made the following statement: 'The diaconate will only become fully accepted as a vocation when young people say, ‘When I grow up, I want to be a deacon.’  Well, Deacon Ditewig, I hope my book Where Do Deacons Come From? will help make that a reality."  Thanks, Elizabeth, I agree with you!

The reason I believe this to be so important is this: For nearly a millennium, when someone "imagined" ordained ministry, the "image" that came to mind was "priest".  In Scholastic theology, even the bishop was not considered part of the sacrament of Holy Order: he was thought to be sacramentally simply a priest who had been given additional jurisdiction.  This had NOT been the case in the ancient church, and since 1967 it is not the case any more.  It's just that while church law and official practice has shifted, how people "image" ordained ministry has not.  At least not completely.  Such a cultural shift is going to take time. 

We can see this shift taking place in different ways around the world.  In those areas where the diaconate has been around since the 1970s, we've had some four decades to become part of fabric of contemporary church life.  In those areas where the diaconate is still relatively new, of course, the process has barely begun.  What I find so fascinating and significant about Ms. Ficocelli's contribution on the diaconate is that she has captured the presence of deacons as ministers with whom the children are familiar and would like to know more about. 

So, many, many thanks, Elizabeth!  God bless you!



  1. Some time back, I mentioned on Deacon Greg's Blog that I had indeed encountered a young high-school senior who talked to me about becoming a married deacon.

    I bought him a copy of "When I grow up. . . " and sent it to him. I have not had the opportunity to talk to him since a picnic on July 4 weekend.

    His pastor, however, has already talked to me about introducing this young man to our local bishop at one of our local "Come and See" dinners. We'll see.

    Deacon Norb in Ohio

  2. This is an interesting thought process.... I can remember growing up feeling drawn to be a priest. After discenment, the "calling" was to the diaconate (I was just ordained this past year). As a child I didn't have the vocabulary to lable it a "calling/desire" for the diaconate. I didn't know any deacons when I was a child.

    I have two young sons (haven't been blessed with any daughters yet?) and it will be interesting what their thoughts are a generation from now.

  3. One can only hope that both sons and daughters can grow up hopoing to be deacons:—again/