Monday, June 25, 2012

Up and Running: Back to Blogging

It's been a month or so since I took my sabbatical from blogging.  As I indicated then, I was feeling quite overwhelmed with work responsibilities, teaching, traveling and writing.  Over the last several weeks I've been involved in all of those things, including attending the Catholic Theological Society of America (CTSA) Convention in St. Louis during which I gave a paper, then directing the diaconate retreat for the Diocese of Pueblo at a retreat center in Colorado Springs. The highlight, however, has been the opportunity to take some much needed time for family: my wife and I have had the chance to visit our family spread out around the country.  We've seen our four children and all nine grandchildren (which included meeting our newest granddaughter for the first time!), my Mother and sisters, and many other family members.  I even got to baptize a new great-nephew!  It's been a truly blessed time.  This weekend, before heading back to the office, some of my former students -- now all involved in various ministries -- will be gathering for a small reunion.  All in all, then, this has been a very life-giving time, for which I am eternally grateful!

Now is the time to return to the blog.  You might notice that I've done a little refreshing of the design to signal my renewed effort.  More important, while I will certainly find things to blog about, it would also be helpful to know of any particular questions that you may have, so feel free to send along questions and suggestions for blog entries.

May all who pass by find this a place of peaceful yet challenging reflection.


  1. Great!
    I wondered why it was changing colour....

  2. Welcome back Dcn. Bill, good to see you in the blogosphere. There are a few things I'm curious about. first, in some of the internet research that I have done I have run into the thought that the Diaconate is an optional ministry in the Church. To be more focused if there are enough priests in a given territory then deacons aren't needed. Is this a correct statement and could you explain why. Secondly I've been thinking about the Transitional Diaconate (before the council) as a priestly apprenticeship and how that has impacted the current ministry and practice of a Permanent Diaconate which is not bound for priestly ministry. Those are my thoughts and curiosities, thanks for all that you do. and again welcome back.

    Ephrem Follower

  3. Ephrem and Bill:

    A few years ago I did give an orientation to the History of the Diaconate for our diocesan aspirants.

    My fancy degrees are all in medieval and renaissance studies and it is obvious -- as Ephrem articulated -- that during that era of "the Great Chain" where the essential vertical cosmology of the created world was the norm, the order of the deacon/priest/bishop was shaped as loosely parallel to the broader society's idea of a guild: Apprentice/ Journeyman/ Master. Being a clergy-person was a profession and as a profession it must have certain readily recognizable steps all in a vertical scheme of things.

    There are still vestiges of that three-step process in place in many craft-guilds today.

    BUT, unless I am mistaken, your own dissertation has articulated that the vision and understanding of the diaconate has matured to the point where that three-step guild ideal is no longer valid.

    Ephrem -- you are correct. That understanding of the diaconate you articulated can be traced in all sort of documents prior to Vatican II.

    The body of academic work on the post-Vatican II diaconate is "in medias res," still is maturing and and under development.

    Are we different that the deacons of the year AD 1000; Yup. Is that a bad thing; Nope; will the deacons of the year AD 3000 be different than us; very likely!

    Only the very best of blessings!

    Deacon Norb in Ohio