In The Pope Video for May, the Holy Father brings to the fore a special figure within the clergy—deacons—and asks us to pray that they may be “an invigorating symbol for the entire Church.”
(Vatican City, May 5, 2020) – The new Pope Video has just been published, as it is each month, to make known the prayer intention that the Holy Father has entrusted to the Pope’s Worldwide Prayer Network. On this occasion, it is about deacons, “the guardians of service in the Church” and of a renewed apostolate in today’s world. Pope Francis exhorts us to pray for them, that they may be “an invigorating symbol for the entire Church.”
The ecclesiastical ministry, which is the ministry of men dedicated to God’s service, includes three degrees of the sacrament of Orders: bishops, priests, and deacons. “Deacons share in Christ’s mission and grace in a special way. The sacrament of Holy Orders marks them with an imprint (“character”) which cannot be removed and which configures them to Christ, who made himself the ‘deacon’ or servant of all.” They are ordained ministers and a sign, in the heart of the Church, of Christ the Servant. In fact, the Greek word diakonía means service, and this is the spirit that defines their function: they help through the service to the Word, service of the liturgy, and service to the poorest and most disadvantaged. In the Pope’s words, “They are dedicated to the service of the poor, who carry within them the face of the suffering Christ.”
Not everyone knows that priests are ordained deacons for service to the community; it’s even less known that permanent deacons, who also live according to the charism and vocation of service to others, are married and live “their vocation in and with their family.” Today, there are more than 46,000 permanent deacons throughout the world.
Fr. Frédéric Fornos SJ, International Director of the Pope’s Worldwide Prayer Network (which includes the Eucharistic Youth Movement—EYM), comments that “Jesus, in his last hours with his disciples, revealed himself as the servant of God par excellence. His last words became actions when he washed his disciples’ feet, as recorded in the Gospel according to Saint John. It was his testament. He is revealed as the Suffering Servant (see Is 52:13-53:12). All of his life was service: service to the poorest and most vulnerable. This is how Jesus understood his own life, as Saint Matthew tells us: ‘The Son of Man did not come to be served but to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many’ (Mt 20:17-28). In the Church, we should all incarnate this attitude of service. Deacons, symbols in the Church of Christ the Servant, remind us of this. As Francis tells us, they are ‘an invigorating symbol for the entire Church.’ The Church needs them.”
In point 104 of the Final Document of the Synod of Bishops on the Amazon, the pope says forcefully, “Today’s diaconate should also promote integral ecology, human development, social pastoral work, and service to those in situations of vulnerability and poverty; modelled on Christ the Servant and becoming a merciful, Samaritan, solidary and diaconal Church.”
Let us pray, as Pope Francis invites us in The Pope Video, that all deacons, “faithful in their service to the Word and the poor, may be an invigorating symbol for the entire Church.”
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About The Pope Video
The Pope Video is an official global initiative to disseminate the Holy Father’s monthly intentions. It is carried out by the Pope’s Worldwide Prayer Network (Apostleship of Prayer). The project is supported by Vatican Media. More information at: The Pope Video
About The Pope’s Worldwide Prayer Network
The Pope’s Worldwide Prayer Network is a pontifical work with the mission of mobilizing Catholics through prayer and action, in the face of the challenges confronting humanity and the mission of the Church. These challenges are addressed in the form of prayer intentions entrusted by the Pope to the entire Church. Its mission is inscribed in the dynamic of the Heart of Jesus: a mission of compassion for the world. This work was founded in 1844 as the Apostleship of Prayer. It is present in 98 countries and is made up of more than 35 million Catholics. It includes a youth branch, the EYM: Eucharistic Youth Movement. In March 2018, the Pope constituted this ecclesial service as a Pontifical Work and approved its new statutes. Its international director is Father Frédéric Fornos SJ. More information at: https://www.popesprayer.va
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