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Building awareness of the permanent diaconate

EN Deacons and wives2

United in faith: Some of Brisbane archdiocese’s deacons gather with their wives after the annual Mass for deacons on September 13 at St Stephen’s Cathedral.
Photo: Emilie Ng

WITHOUT a wife by his side Brisbane archdiocese’s permanent Deacon Peter Devenish-Meares said he couldn’t take on the task of “being Christ” in the world.

Deacon Devenish-Meares and wife Jo Devenish-Meares have spent the last 10 years adjusting to a life with three daughters and being an ordained ministry for the Church.

The deacon and wife joined 10 others with their wives at the annual Mass for deacons on September 13 at St Stephen’s Cathedral.

Responding to a “nagging call from God” on March 31, 2006, when Deacon Devenish-Meares was ordained, showed the couple a new way to be a “sacramental witness” in the world.

It has been the couple’s mission to share the faith with the world “who doesn’t know about God”.

Ministering particularly to “those who don’t go to Church in the workplace” is at the heart of Deacon Devenish-Meares vocation, as well as encouraging faith in Catholic families.

“But I couldn’t do it without Jo,” Deacon Devenish-Meares said.

Mrs Devenish-Meares said life “hasn’t changed much”, but their faith lives were more enriched.

Opportunities to educate others about the deaconate, even Catholics, never cease for the couple, who often get concerned looks when they show affection in public.

Common misconceptions about deacons also include mistaking them for priests or altar servers.

Mrs Devenish-Meares, a teacher at Mount St Michael’s College, Ashgrove, said students at her school were often in discussions about the diaconate.

“It enables girls (at Mount St Michael’s) to gain a greater awareness of work as a deacon,” Mrs Devenish-Meares said.

Deacon Devenish-Meares said deacons must be “prepared to serve” for the good of the Church.

“It’s less about what you do, and more about how do you be Christ in the world,” Deacon Devenish-Meares said.

Brisbane Diaconate Program director Columban Father Trevor Trotter said it was important to Catholics to know that “we are still here”.

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