Skip to comments.A journey to the diaconate (Permanent Deacon) [Catholic Caucus]
Posted on 10/30/2011 12:09:58 PM PDT by Salvation
Often, during our interview, when Deacon Marques Silva spoke, he used the word we when referring to his life. The permanent deacon, ordained in January and serving at St. Mary of Sorrows Parish in Fairfax, didnt mean we the Church or we the Office of Child Protection and Safety, of which he recently has become director. He meant we his family.
Silva is entrenched in a home life centered around his wife, Christine, and their four children: Nicolas, Hannah, Victoria and Noah. His parents, Thomas and Esther, and his sister, Iwalani, all live nearby. Photos of these loved ones lie flat on his desk, protected by a glass covering.
Its his family that Silva credits for early formation in the Faith. Its his family that he credits for his recent ordination as a permanent deacon. Its his family that he credits for his recent job at the Chancery overseeing the office that creates a safe environment for children in the Arlington Diocese. Its his family that loves to read together and make music together and pray together, creating a happy home built on faith.
Deacon Silva was born May 1, 1970, and his childhood toggled between Virginia and Hawaii, from where his father hails.
When in Hawaii, we were at the beach every weekend, he said. I loved it.
Silva grew up in a Catholic home with his parents always active in the Church, especially the Cursillo movement, which seeks to promote individual and organized apostolic action.
Because of the household I grew up in I have no memory of not working in service to the Church, he said. Even when I wasnt in Catholic school, because of the Cursillo community at the time, I was still with the Church. Its who we are.
From the example of his parents, Silva learned leadership, what it means to serve and deep faith. He got a taste of diaconate life when he was trained as an altar server by Father Frank Ready, diocesan vicar general for pastoral services.
When (Father Ready) got me back in the diaconate program, he found great humor in that, Silva said.
In eighth grade, Silva struggled with epilepsy, causing him to repeat the grade. At Paul VI Catholic High School in Fairfax, from where he graduated in 1989, Silva became involved with a charismatic prayer group and helped lead confirmation retreats. He attended three youth conferences at Franciscan University of Steubenville in Ohio, opting to attend that school instead of using the many swimming and diving scholarships offered from other universities.
I thought my dad was going to kill me, he said. I wanted to pursue something else in college, so I went to Steubenville. You went to Steubenville not for the looks and location, you went there for a different reason.
He began dating Christine at the end of his sophomore year and the two became engaged the summer before their senior year, a week after Thomas told his son not to let her get away. Silva already had the ring.
With a new degree (mental health and human services with a minor in theology), a new wife (the couple married in 1994, a year after graduation), and an interest in personality and group dynamics, Silva embarked on his adult life.
He worked as the youth director and assistant director of religious education at St. Catherine of Siena Parish in Great Falls and in development for the Salesians of Don Bosco in Arlington that helps poor and suffering children around the world. Silva served as development director for Aid to the Church in Russia, located in Arlington, and spent time as the executive director of Exodus Youth Services, riding around in an expanding motor home in the poorest areas of Washington, D.C.
It was great, a fantastic experience, he said. Ive always had a love for working with the youth. What you see is what you get. Theyll be up front with you.
When Exodus shut down, Silva went to work with disadvantaged youth at Job Corps, a program of the Department of Labor that helps young people achieve vocational and academic training.
I think we sell our youth too short, he said. Theyre much brighter and are able to make far more decisions if we give them a chance and provide the right foundation and context for them.
The last in the long line of jobs was as senior account executive of Pulsar Advertising in Alexandria, which he left recently in order to run the child protection and safety office.
Silva said that all the many jobs he held up to that point served as stepping stones for where he is now. Working in the diocesan office combines his love for youth, his experience with administration and management, and his undergraduate interest in health and human services.
I feel like Im pulling from every position that Ive had, he said. It kind of blends everything together (and) it blends my diaconate.
The office, Silva said, is centered not only on protecting children, but on helping all Church employees and volunteers have a long and fruitful relationship with the Church.
Were just trying to make sure that everybodys safe, he said. Not just the kids, but also the clergy, the employees, the volunteers. We want to keep everybody in a position that they can enjoy what they do.
Becoming a permanent deacon was not Silvas idea, he said. In fact, he resisted it. It was Christine and their children who saw that his love for service, liturgy and Scripture would be a good fit with that level of service to the Church. They literally got him the application.
My wife and kids said, You were made for this. This is who you are, he said. Through that and a lot of reflection and prayer many long hours before the Blessed Sacrament he made his decision.
Silva entered the program in 2006, still not completely convinced that the permanent diaconate was for him.
But then, something changed in my heart, he said. There was like a thirsting. As I reflected on my own life, I got to this point where something would be missing if I didnt pursue this.
Since being ordained in January, Silva was assigned to St. Mary. He preaches once a month, serves parishioners and continues to grow in his own faith.
Through the diaconate, we continue to form ourselves through Scripture, through reading and through (personal) interactions, he said.
Faith in the family
Silva still remembers the words his father told him as he was growing up: Always work in your part of the kingdom that has been entrusted to you.
At St. Mary his part of the kingdom Silva serves as a catechist, sacristan and extraordinary minister of holy Communion. He leads a mens group; assists with a retreat for those facing serious illnesses; and leads a monthly festival of praise at St. Leo the Great Parish in Fairfax. With the help of Christine, he mentors married couples. Together, the couple tries to reflect the Faith in their actions, not just their words.
I think faith, just like the Gospel, is more caught than taught, Silva said. My wife and I are trying to be good examples, recognizing that we make mistakes too. The Faith permeates everything we do.
Theres that we again the we of a solid family.
Everything in my job and the diaconate really springs out of my family, he said. We work together.
I wish I had married someone like him.
Let’s keep them all in our prayers.
I think more dioceses are ordaining more permanent deacons now than in the past.
Prayers that your family is doing well.
Well, I was being completely serious. And I am a practicing Catholic. I made the mistake of marrying outside of the faith and sincerely regret it.
You are rude, presumptions and a jerk.
Thank you for your judgments. I posted the thread — so I watch it.
May God bless you now and always.
Thank you, I appreciate it. May God bless you now and always too.
occasionally, a non-Catholic might stray into a Caucus thread and make comments. I’m sure she thought you might have been one, due to being unfamiliar with you. But I can assure you, she isn’t rude, or presumptuous, or a jerk.
As to the thread, I admire those in the diaconate, and it does seem like some dioceses are ordaining more of them, which is a good thing, I think.
I hope that B16 will reduce or eliminate it.
You do realize that the diaconate is part of the Sacrament of Holy Orders, don’t you?
Step One: Diaconate
Step Two: Priesthood
Step Three: Eposcpate (Bishop)_
No slippery slope about it — if the wife of a deacon dies, he cannot remarry. So if he does wish, at that time, he could go back to school and become a priest and remain celibate for the rest of his life.
Is the celibacy what you are worried about?
My original post stands.
He is a Catholic deacon
Your original post is factually inaccurate.
Rather than emoting, I suggest that you read the following and get educated.
|SACRUM DIACONATUS ORDINEM
General Norms for Restoring the Permanent Diaconate in the Latin Church
|Pope Paul VI
|Motu Proprio issued June 18, 1967
Beginning already in the early days of the Apostles, the Catholic Church has held in great veneration the sacred order of the diaconate, as the Apostle of the Gentiles himself. bears witness. He expressly sends his greeting to the deacons together with the bishops and instructs Timothy which virtues and qualities are to be sought in them in order that they may be regarded as worthy of their ministry.
Furthermore, the Second Ecumenical Vatican Council following this very ancient tradition, made honorable mention of the diaconate in the Constitution which begins with the words "Lumen Gentium" where, after concerning itself with the bishops and the priests, it praised also the third rank of sacred orders, explaining its dignity and enumerating its functions.
Indeed while clearly recognizing on the one hand that "these functions very necessary to the life of the Church could in the present discipline of the Latin Church be carried out in many regions with difficulty," and while on the other hand wishing to make more suitable provision in a matter of such importance wisely decreed that the "diaconate in the future could be restored as a particular and permanent rank of the hierarchy."
Although some functions of the deacons, especially in missionary countries, are in fact accustomed to be entrusted to lay men it is nevertheless "beneficial that those . . . who perform a truly diaconal ministry be strengthened by the imposition of hands, a tradition going back to the Apostles, and be more closely joined to the altar so that they may more effectively carry out their ministry through the sacramental grace of the diaconate." Certainly in this way the special nature of this order will be shown most clearly. It is not to be considered as a mere step towards the priesthood, but it is so adorned with its own indelible character and its own special grace so that those who are called to it "can permanently serve the mysteries of Christ and the Church."
Although the restoration of the permanent diaconate is not necessarily to be effected in the whole Latin Church since "it pertains to the competent territorial Episcopal conferences, with the approval of the Supreme Pontiff, to decide whether and where it is timely that deacons of this kind be ordained for the care of souls," we therefore consider it not only proper but also necessary that specific and precise norms be given to adapt present discipline to the new precepts of the Ecumenical Council and to determine the proper conditions under which not only the ministry of the diaconate will be more advantageously regulated, but the training also of the candidates will be better suited to their different kinds of life, their common obligations and their sacred dignity.
Therefore, in the first place, all that is decreed in the Code of Canon Law about the rights and obligations of deacons, whether these rights and obligations be common to all clerics, or proper to deaconsall these, unless some other disposition has been made, we confirm and declare to be in force also for those who will remain permanently in the diaconate. In regard to these we moreover decree the following.
1. It is the task of the legitimate assemblies of bishops of episcopal conferences to discuss, with the consent of the Supreme Pontiff whether and wherein view of the good of the faithfulthe diaconate is to be instituted as a proper and permanent rank of the hierarchy.
2. When asking the Apostolic See for approval, the reasons must be explained which favor the introduction of this new practice in a region as well as the circumstances which give well-founded hope of success. Likewise, the manner will have to be indicated in which the new discipline will be implemented, that is to say, whether it is a matter of conferring the diaconate on "suitable young men for whom the law of celibacy must remain intact, or on men of more mature age, even upon those living in the married state," or on both kinds of candidates.
3. Once the approval of the Holy See has been obtained, it is within the powers of each Ordinary, within the sphere of his own jurisdiction, to approve and ordain the candidates, unless special cases are concerned which exceed his faculties.
Let the Ordinaries, in drawing up the report on the state of their diocese, also mention this restored discipline.
4. By the law of the Church, confirmed by the Ecumenical Council itself, young men called to the diaconate are obliged to observe the law of celibacy.
5. The permanent diaconate may not be conferred before the completion of the 25th year. Nevertheless, an older age can be required by the episcopal conferences.
6. Let young men to be trained for the diaconal office be received in a special institute where they will be put to the test and will be educated to live a truly evangelical life and prepared to fulfill usefully their own specific functions.
7. For the foundation of this institute, let the bishops Of the same country, or, if advantageous, of several countries according to the diversity of circumstances, join their efforts. Let them choose, for its guidance, particularly suitable superiors, and let them establish most accurate norms regarding discipline and the ordering of studies, observing the following prescriptions.
8. Let only those young men be admitted to training for the diaconate who have shown a natural inclination of the spirit to service of the sacred hierarchy and of the Christian community and who have acquired a sufficiently good store of knowledge in keeping the custom of their people and country.
9. Specific training for the diaconate should be spread over a period of at least three years. The series of subjects, however, should be arranged in such a way that the candidates are orderly and gradually led to carrying out the various functions of the diaconate skillfully and beneficially. Moreover, the whole plan of studies can be so arranged that in the last year special training be given for the various functions which deacons especially will carry out.
10. To this moreover should be added practice and training in teaching the elements of the Christian religion to children and other faithful, in familiarizing the people with sacred chant and in directing it, in reading the sacred books of Scripture at gatherings of the faithful, in addressing and exhorting the people, in administering the sacraments which pertain to them, in visiting the sick, and in general in fulfilling the ministries which can be entrusted to them.
11. Older men, whether single or married, can be called to the diaconate. The latter, however, are not to be admitted unless there is certainty not only about the wife's consent but also about her blameless Christian life and those qualities which will neither impede nor bring dishonor on the husband's ministry.
12. The older age in this case is reached at the completion of the thirty-fifth year. Nevertheless, the age requirement is to be understood in this sense, namely, that no one can be called to the diaconate unless he has gained the high regard of the clergy and the faithful by a long example of truly Christian life, by his unexceptionable conduct, and by his ready disposition to be of service.
13. In the case of married men care must be taken that only those are promoted to the diaconate who while living many years in matrimony have shown that they are ruling well their own household and who have a wife and children leading a truly Christian life and noted for their good reputation.
14. It is to be desired that such deacons be possessed of no small learning about which we have spoken in numbers 8, 9, 10 above, or that they at least be endowed with that knowledge which in the judgment of the Episcopal Conference is necessary for them to carry out their specific functions. Consequently they are to be admitted for a time in a special school where they are to learn all that is necessary for worthily fulfilling the diaconal ministry.
15. Should this be impossible, let the candidate be entrusted for his education to an outstanding priest who will direct him, and instruct him and be able to testify to his prudence and maturity. Care must always and emphatically be taken that only suitable and skilled men may be admitted to the sacred order.
16. Once they have received the order of deacon, even those who have been promoted at a more mature age, can not contract marriage by virtue of the traditional discipline of the Church.
17. Let care be taken that the deacons do not exercise an art or a profession which in the judgment of the local Ordinary is unfitting or impedes the fruitful exercise of the sacred office.
18. Any deacon who is not a professed member of a religious family must be duly enrolled in a diocese.
19. The norms in force with regard to caring for the fitting sustenance of priests and guaranteeing their social security are to be observed also in favor of the permanent deacons taking into consideration also the family of married deacons and keeping article 21 of this letter in mind.
20. It is the function of the Episcopal Conference to issue definite norms on the proper sustenance of the deacon and his family if he is married in keeping with the various circumstances of place and time.
21. According to the above-mentioned Constitution of the Second Vatican Council it pertains to the deacon, to the extent that he has been authorized by the local Ordinary to attend such functions:
23. All these functions must be carried out in perfect communion with the bishop and with his presbytery, that is to say, under the authority of the bishop and of the priest who are in charge of the care of souls in that place.
24. Deacons, as much as possible, should have their part in pastoral councils.
25. Let the deacons, as those who serve the mysteries of Christ and of the Church, abstain from all vice and endeavor to be always pleasing to God "ready for every good work" for the salvation of men. By reason, therefore, of the order received they must surpass by far all the others in the practice of liturgical life, in the love for prayer, in the divine service, in obedience, in charity, in chastity.
26. It will be the task of the episcopal conference to establish more efficacious norms to nourish the spiritual life of the deacons, both celibate and married. Let the local Ordinaries, however, see to it that all the deacons: devote themselves assiduously to reading and meditating on the word of God; frequently and if possible every day, participate actively in the sacrifice of the Mass, receive the sacrament of the Most Holy Eucharist and devoutly visit the Sacrament; purify their souls frequently with the sacrament of Penance and, for the purpose of receiving it worthily, examine their conscience each day; venerate and love the Virgin Mary, the Mother of God with fervent devotion.
27. It is a supremely fitting thing that permanent deacons recite every day at least part of the Divine Office, to be determined by the episcopal conference.
28. Diocesan deacons must, at least every third year, attend spiritual exercises in a religious house or pious institution designated by the Ordinary.
29. Deacons are not to neglect studies, particularly the sacred ones; let them read assiduously the sacred books of the Scripture; let them devote themselves to ecclesiastical studies in such a way that they can correctly explain Catholic teaching to the rest and become daily more capable of instructing and strengthening the minds of the faithful.
For this purpose, let the deacons be called to meetings to he held at specified times at which problems regarding their life and the sacred ministry are treated.
30. Because of the special character of the ministry entrusted to them they are bound to show reverence and obedience to the bishop; the bishops, however, should in the Lord highly esteem these ministers of the people of God and love them with the love of a father. If for a just cause a deacon lives for a time outside his own diocese he should willingly submit to the supervision and authority of the local Ordinary in those matters which pertain to the duties and functions of the diaconal state.
31. In the matter of wearing apparel the local custom will have to be observed according to the norms set down by the episcopal conference.
32. The institution of the permanent diaconate among the Religious is a right reserved to the Holy See which is exclusively competent to examine and approve the recommendations of the general chapters in the matter.
33. Let the Religious deacons exercise the diaconal ministry under the authority of the bishop and of their own superiors according to the norms in force for religious priests; they are also bound by the laws to which the members of the same Religious family are obliged.
34. A Religious deacon who lives either permanently or for a specified time in a region which lacks a permanent diaconate may not exercise diaconal functions except with the consent of the local Ordinary.
35. The provisions in nos. 32-34 regarding the Religious must be regarded as applying likewise to members of other institutes who profess the evangelical counsels.
36. Finally as regards the rite to be followed in conferring the sacred order of the diaconate and those orders which precede the diaconate, let the present discipline be observed until it is revised by the Holy See.
Finally, after issuing these norms the desire springs spontaneously from our heart that deacons in performing their arduous functions in the modern world follow the examples which we propose for their imitation; the example of St. Stephen the protomartyr, who as St. Irenaeus says "was the first chosen for diaconal service by the Apostles," and of St. Lawrence of Rome "who was illustrious not only in the administration of the sacraments but also in the stewardship of the possessions of the Church."
We order, then, that what has been established by us in this letter, given "motu proprio" be firm and valid, all things to the contrary notwithstanding.
Given at Rome, at St. Peter's on the feast of St. Ephrem the Syrian, June 18, 1967 in the fourth year of our pontificate.
1 Cf. Phil. 1:1.
2 Cf. 1 Tim. 3:8-13.
3 Cf. AAS 57 (1965) D. 36 n. 2S.
4 Cf. Second Vatican Council, Decree: <Ad gentes>, n. AAS 58 (1966) p. 967.
5 Cf. AAS 57 (1965) p. 46.
6 <Ibid.> p. 36.
7 Cf. 1 Tim. 3:10-12.
8 Cf. canons 1095 #2, and 1096.
9 Cf. 2 Tim. 2:21
10 Canon Law of the Eastern Church, <Concerning Persons> canon 87, AAS 49 (1957) p. 462.
11 <Adversus haereses> 4.15.1, PG 7:1013.
12 St. Leo the Great, <Sermon> 85, PL 54:436.
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I do not dispute that PVI indeed published that. The unintended consequence is the silliness we are forced to endure at Mass.