The present text is a translation of the original French one, written by Padre (Deacon) Gauthier.Translation made by Padre (Pastoral Associate) Delisle
The role and mission of the Diaconal Council Executive is to advise the Military Ordinary with respect to the ministry of deacons within the Ordinariate, to their well-being, continuing education, vocational and professional development activities, and social activities with their wives.
Permanent deacons (PD) within the RC Military Ordinariate are military chaplains on an equal footing with other chaplains.
In a spirit of service, chaplains deacons work in units, squadrons, training centers, headquarters across Canada. They are actively involved in the life of their Christian community. They engage in different various charities. They work together with the pastoral team and the clergy. They participate in the ecclesial, pastoral and sacramental life, within the chapels to which they belong.
They are currently nine incardinated permanent deacons, and one transitional deacon for priestly ordination. Three PD are currently retired, six are still in active service. A recent milestone for the permanent deacons: the celebration of 10th anniversary of incardination within the military diocese of the first permanent deacon, Major Michel Dion.
Under the bylaws, the Military Ordinary can call the Executive to consult his members on specific questions. Subject to the approval by the Ordinary, the President of the Diaconal Council can call a meeting of the Executive. He must inform the Ordinary in advance of the aim of the meeting and send him the agenda and the items for discussion as well.
The President chairs the meeting and ensures its proper conduct, in conformity with the provisions laid down in the statutes of the Diaconal Council. The duration of the positions within the Executive is two years and members may be reappointed up to two consecutive terms. At the end of a mandate, following a resignation or a retirement, the President of the Executive must coordinate the election of a new member of the Executive. The Ordinary can appoint at any time a deacon in the Executive.
An another important aspect of the role of the Executive is to keep in touch with all the deacons at home or deployed overseas and to promote collegiality and fraternal spirit among military deacons. Where possible, deacons are also invited to take part in the diaconal meetings of the civilian diocese where they are located. In addition, members of the Executive occasionally participate in the annual meetings of diaconal associations in Québec, Ontario and Canada, and therefore, maintain collegiality and communion with the universal Church.
Since the earliest ages of the Church, following the Pentecost event, Apostles ordained deacons for the service of God's people and the Christian communities, but more specifically for the service of the widows and the poor, and for the proper management of material assets in support of the Apostles and various emerging Churches.
The Church had ordained permanent deacons until 1000 AD, then stopped doing it mainly due to the extraordinary growth of the priesthood. As we know, after the Second Vatican Council (1963-1965) the Roman Catholic Church of the Latin rite has re-introduced the permanent diaconate.
Deacons may lead prayers, bring the Viaticum (Holy Eucharist) to the dying, preside the funeral rites, administer baptism and bless marriages by receiving the consents as witnesses under the eyes of God. During the liturgy of the Mass, deacons carry the Evangeliarium during the procession, say the penitential act, proclaim the Gospel, preach the homily, read the prayers of the faithful. With the priest, they receive the offerings, put the wine in the chalice and add water, raise the chalice at the doxology, invite the congregation to share a sign of peace, distribute Holy Communion /Blood of Christ, purify the sacred vessels and send the congregation at the end of the Eucharist.
Outside the church, deacons are the presence of the Church in an attitude of service to the People of God and are a sign of Christ the Servant.