AN annual Mass of Deacons – held last Sunday, close to the Feast of St Lawrence, deacon and martyr – recognises the unique and diverse mission of deacons across the Brisbane Archdiocese, often on the fringes
“We are ministers of the Word of the Gospel, and we work in quiet ways,” Deacon Peter Devenish-Meares said.
“It’s the quiet parish work, baptisms and hospital visits that are not newsworthy in a secular sense, but deacons are ministering Christ’s compassion in a real sense.”
In Brisbane, deacons provide pastoral care in hospitals, minister to police, emergency services, army and veterans, support family relationships and married couples, work with ethnic communities and hold key positions within the Archdiocesan administration.
Delivering his Sunday homily on August 6, Auxiliary Bishop Ken Howell, called on the congregation to recognise and pray for deacons in their work “especially the care they have for God’s Word”.
“In their preaching they spend much time pondering God’s word so that they can like bishop, priest and deacon – bring forth the riches that God has in store for us in the Gospel and the Word of the Lord,” Bishop Howell said.
St Lawrence, a young cleric who lived in Rome in the third century cared for the good of the Church and distributing its alms among the poor.
He was arrested under the Emperor Valerian, laid upon a grid iron and slowly roasted to death.
Deacon Andrew O’Brien described the example of St Lawrence as “total commitment to the service of the Church”.
“I mean he laid his life down for Jesus, and we are prepared to do similarly,” Deacon O’Brien said.
Across the Brisbane Archdiocese, Deacon Devenish-Meares, said diverse “fields of mission” often take deacons to the fringes of society.
Deacon Devenish-Meares himself works with police, army and Mission Australia and was recently appointed as the board chairman of Ambulance Queensland.
“Our work on the fringes is probably more important than ever with COVID-19,” he said.
There are currently about 20 deacons in Brisbane, with six in formation.