Deacons



Pope Francis  13.04.13  Holy Mass  Santa Marta        Acts 6: 1-7 

In the passage from the Acts of the Apostles (6:1-7), proclaimed in the First Reading, there is a piece of the history of the Church's early days: the Church was growing, the number of disciples was increasing, but “it was at this very moment that the problems arose”. Indeed, “those who spoke Greek murmured against those who spoke the Hebrew language because their widows were neglected in the daily distribution. Life, was not always calm and beautiful and the first thing they do is to murmur, to gossip about each other: “But look, the thing is …”. But this does not lead to any solution”.

“The Apostles”, on the contrary, “with the help of the Holy Spirit, reacted well. They summoned the group of disciples and spoke to them. This is the first step: when there are difficulties, it is necessary to examine them closely, to take them up and to talk about them. Never hide them. Life is like this.
Life must be taken as it comes, not as we would like it to come”. It is a little like the goalkeeper of the team, isn't it? He grabs the ball wherever it comes from, This is the reality. Thus the Apostles “spoke to each other and came up with a lovely proposal, a revolutionary proposal, for they said: “but we are the Apostles, those who Jesus chose”. However, that was not enough. They realized that their first duty was to pray and to serve the Word. “And as for the daily assistance to widows, we must do something else”. This is “what the deacons decided to do”.

Ask “the Lord for this grace: not to be
afraid, and not to use cosmetics on life”, in order to be able “to take life as it comes and to try to solve the problems as the Apostles did. And also to seek the encounter with Jesus who is always beside us, also at life's bleakest moments.




Pope Francis       18.05.14 Regina Caeli St Peter's Square         5th Sunday of Easter Year A       Acts 6: 1-7


Dear Brothers and Sisters, Good morning!

Today the Reading from the Acts of the Apostles enables us to see that the first tensions and the first dissension also arose in the early Church. There are conflicts in life, the question is how we confront them. Until that time the unity of the Christian communities had been fostered by belonging to one single ethnicity, and to one single culture, that of the Jews. But when Christianity, which by the will of Jesus is destined for all peoples, opened up to the Greek cultural atmosphere, this homogeneity is lost and the first difficulties arose. At that time, discontent was spreading, there was grumbling, rumours of favouritism and unequal treatment circling. This happens in our parishes too! The community’s help to those in need — widows, orphans and the poor in general — seems to favour Christians of Jewish extraction over others. 

And so, faced with this conflict, the Apostles take the situation into their own hands: they call a meeting that is also open to the disciples, and they discuss the matter together. Everyone. Problems, in fact, are not resolved by pretending that they do not exist! And this frank and open exchange between pastors and the other faithful is beautiful. They then come to the subdivision of some of the tasks. The Apostles make a proposal that is welcomed by all: they will dedicate themselves to prayer and to the ministry of the Word, while seven men, deacons, will provide for the service of the tables for the poor. These seven men are not chosen because they are experts in business, but because they are honest men of good repute, full of the Holy Spirit and wisdom; and they are established in the service through the imposition of hands by the Apostles. 

So from that malcontent, that grumbling, from those rumours of favouritism and unequal treatment, they arrive at a solution. 

Conflicts in the Church are resolved by facing one other, by discussing and praying. By facing each other, by discussing and praying, with the certainty that gossip, envy, jealousy can never bring us to concord, harmony or peace. There, too, it was the Holy Spirit who crowned this understanding, and this enables us to understand that when we let ourselves to be guided by the Holy Spirit, he brings us to harmony, unity and respect for various gifts and talents. Have you understood well? No gossiping, no envy, no jealousy! Understood? 

May the Virgin Mary help us to be docile to the Holy Spirit, so that we may be able to esteem one another and converge ever more deeply in faith and love, keeping our hearts open to the needs of our brothers.



Pope Francis      19.09.19   Holy Mass, Santa Marta (Domus Sanctae Marthae), Rome          1 Timothy 4: 12-16    Luke 7: 36-50

Pope Francis  19.09.19  Santa Marta - Ministry

The ordained ministry is a gift which should be appreciated and shared.

Jesus offers this gift to deacons, priests, and bishops so they might serve others.

I invite everyone and even myself to reflect upon St Paul's first letter to Timothy, todays first reading (1 Tim 4:12-16), focusing on the word "gift", on the ministry as a gift to be contemplated, following Paul's advice to the young disciple: "Do not neglect the gift you have".

It is not a job contract: ‘I have to do it’. The act of doing is in the second place. I must receive the gift and care for it, and from there flows all the rest: in contemplation of the gift. When we forget this, we appropriate the gift, and turn it into a function, then we lose the heart of ministry and lose Jesus’ gaze who looked upon us and said: ‘Follow me.’ Gratuitousness is lost. 

If we do not contemplate the gift we have received, all the deviations we can imagine are unleashed, from the most horrible – which are terrible – to the most mundane, which make us turn our ministry into being about us, rather than about the gratuitousness of the gift and about our love for He who gave us the gift of ministry.

A gift "which was conferred on you through the prophetic word with the imposition of hands of the priests" (1 Tim 4: 14) and that applies to bishops and also to priests and deacons. It is important to contemplate ministry as a gift and not as a function. We do what we can, with good intentions, intelligence, and "even with a little cunning", but always taking care of the gift.

It is human to forget the centrality of a gift, as the Pharisee does in today’s Gospel (Lk 7:36-50) when he forgets several rules of hospitality as he welcomes Jesus to his table.

There was this man, a good man, a good Pharisee but he had forgotten the gift of courtesy, the gift of hospitality – which is also a gift. Gifts are always forgotten when there is some sort of self-interest involved, when I want to do this or that thing – always doing, doing… Yes, we priests must all do things, and our first task is to proclaim the Gospel, but we must take care of our centre, our source from which our mission flows, which is the gift we have freely received from the Lord.

May the Lord help us to care for this gift, to consider our ministry above all as a gift, then as service, so as not to ruin it and not to become entrepreneurs, businessmen and the many things that distance us from the contemplation of the gift and the Lord who gave us the gift of ministry.





Pope Francis  May 2020
For deacons





Let us pray that deacons, faithful in their service to the Word and the poor, may be an invigorating symbol for the entire Church.

Deacons are not second-level priests.
They are part of the clergy and live their vocation in and with their family.
They are dedicated to the service of the poor, who carry within them the face of the suffering Christ.
They are the guardians of service in the Church.




Pope Francis  10.05.20  Holy Mass Casa Santa Marta (Domus Sanctae Marthae)     Acts 6: 1-7,      John 14: 1-12   
Fifth Sunday of Easter
Pope Francis Prayer 10.05.20

In these past two days, there have been two commemorations: the 70th anniversary of Robert Schuman's declaration, that gave birth to the European Union, and also the commemoration of the end of the war. Let us ask the Lord for Europe today to grow together, in this unity of brotherhood that makes all peoples grow in unity in diversity.


In this passage of the Gospel (John 14: 1-14), is Jesus' farewell speech, Jesus says he is going to the Father. And he says that he will be with the Father and that those who believe in him will accomplish the works that he does and will accomplish even greater than those, because he is going to the Father. And whatever you ask in my name, I will do, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask me something in my name, I will do it. We can say that this passage from the Gospel of John is the declaration of the ascension to the Father. 

The Father has always been present in Jesus' life, and Jesus spoke of it. Jesus prayed to the Father. And many times, he spoke of the Father who takes care of us, and how he takes care of the birds, the lilies of the field. The Father. And when the disciples asked him to how to pray, Jesus taught them to pray the "Our Father". He always goes to the Father. But in this passage it is very strong; and also it is as if he opened the doors of the all powerfulness of prayer. "Because I am going to the Father: whatever you ask in my name, I will do, everything. so that the Father may be glorified in the Son" (John 14: 12-13). This trust in the Father, trust in the Father who is able to do everything. This courage to pray, because it takes courage to pray! It takes the same courage, the same boldness as to preach: the same.

Let us think of our father Abraham, when he - I think it is said - "haggled" with God to save Sodom ( Gen 18: 20-33): "What if they were less? And less? And less?...." Really, he knew how to negotiate. But always with this courage: "Excuse me, Lord, but give me a discount: a little less, a little less...". Always the courage of the struggle in prayer, because praying is to fight: to battle with God. And then, Moses: twice that the Lord would have wanted to destroy the people ( Exd 32:1-35 and Nm 11:1-3) and make him the leader of another people, Moses said "No!". And he said "no" to the Father! With courage! But if you go to pray like this – whispers a timid prayer – this is a lack of respect! Praying is going with Jesus to the Father who will give you everything. Courage in prayer, frankness in prayer. The same that is needed for preaching.

And we heard in the first Reading that conflict in the early days of the Church ( Acts 6:1-7), because Christians of Greek origin murmured – they complained, already at that time this was done: you see that it is a habit of the Church. They murmured because their widows, their orphans were not well cared for; the apostles had no time to do so many things. And Peter, enlightened by the Holy Spirit, "invented", let us say, the deacons. "Let's do something: we're looking for seven people who are good and for these men can take care of this service" ( Acts 6:2-4). The deacon is the guardian of service in the Church. And so these people, who are right to complain, are well cared for in their needs "and we," Peter says, "we will devote ourselves to prayer and the proclamation of the Word" (6: 5). This is the bishop's task: to pray and preach. With this strength that we have felt in the Gospel: the bishop is the first who goes to the Father, with the confidence that Jesus gave, with courage, with the parish, to fight for his people. A bishop's first task is to pray. Peter said it: "And to us, prayer and the proclamation of the Word."

I met a priest, a holy, good parish priest, who when he met a bishop greeted him, always asked the question: "Your Excellency, how many hours a day do you pray?", and he always said this: "Because the first task is to pray." Because it is the prayer of the head of the community for the community, the intercession to the Father to take care of the people.

The bishop's prayer, the first task: to pray. And the people, seeing the bishop pray, learn to pray. Because the Holy Spirit teaches us that it is God who "does things. We do a little bit, but it is he who does the things for the Church, and prayer is the one that carries the Church forward. And for this reason, the leaders of the Church, that is to say, the bishops, must go forward with prayer.

That word of Peter is prophetic: "Let deacons do all this, so people are well cared for and the problems are solved and even their needs. But to us, bishops, prayer and the proclamation of the Word."

It is sad to see good bishops good, good people, but busy with so many things, the finances, and this and that and that and that. Prayer first. Then, the other things. But when other things take away from prayer, something doesn't work. And prayer is strong for what we have heard in the Gospel of Jesus: "I will go to the Father. And whatever you ask in my name, I will do, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son"(John 14: 12-13) So the Church progresses, with prayer, the courage of prayer, because the Church knows that without this access to the Father it cannot survive.