There are two basic goals of the placement process for deacons:
The objective of the Deacon Life and Ministry Board is to match, as closely as possible, the needs of an individual parish, institution, or agency with the competence and potential of an individual deacon. Through annual information forms or surveys, personal interviews, and direct contacts with deacons, the Board becomes more familiar with the background, the experiences, and the individual goals of deacons in recommending candidates for ministerial assignments.
The essential elements of the placement process include, but are not limited to, information gathering, development of recommendations, clearance, and consultation.
1156.3.2 Information Gathering
Accurate, current, and objective data is compiled about the position to be filled and the deacons available for assignment. The Office of the Diaconate will:
1156.3.3 Development of Recommendations
Assignment recommendations are then prepared by the Placement Committee for each position and must balance the pastoral needs of the Archdiocese with the welfare of the individual deacon.
Recommendations proposed by Placement Committee, and accepted by the Board and the Director of Deacon Personnel, are discussed with the administrative authorities of the Archdiocese such as the Archbishop, the vicars and delegates, and the pastors involved in changes of deacon assignments.
No recommendation for assignment will be finalized without personal consultation with the nominees and the pastor and/or staff of the individual parish, institution, or organization. Ordinarily, a deacon is free to accept, decline, or ask for a reasonable amount of time for further consideration. Each deacon maintains the right of direct appeal to the vicars or delegates and/or the Archbishop.
The consultation process occurs in the following manner:
The Archbishop may take direct action in making an assignment without the normal consultative process. In some instances, the Board may also recommend direct action.
1156.3.6 Initiating Placement
Beginning the Process – The placement process may begin in any of several ways as an opening becomes known to the Office of the Diaconate through communication with individual deacons or with others.
1156.3.7 Placement Committee and Board Procedure
Initial Placement Committee Process –
The Placement Committee receives preliminary background information from the Office staff and the Board, and then:
Final Recommendations – Finalizing Assignment Recommendations –
The Deacon Life and Ministry Board is responsible for finalizing the recommendations of the Placement Committee.
The Deacon Life and Ministry Board:
The Director of the Deacon Personnel presents all Board recommendations to the vicars or delegates and the Archbishop for approval. If approval is denied, recommendations are returned to the Board with the reason for the rejection and a specific request for reconsideration. However, the Archbishop may exercise the right to make changes in the recommendations.
The following policy applies to the appointment of deacons:
The Board, or the Placement Committee on the Board’s behalf, will schedule an individual review with each deacon at least once every 3 years. The purpose of this interview is to strengthen the bond of service within the deacon community and to keep individual records as current as possible.
The deacon to be interviewed will be personally contacted by a member of the Board who is responsible for the interview. The interview will be made at a mutually acceptable time and place and will consist of:
All interviews are held in strict confidence. No statements made during the interview will be open as a matter for discussion outside of the interview. However, any deacon may review his own personnel folder at a mutually convenient time. All personnel files are kept at the Office of the Diaconate.
Aware of their common mission, the deacon and his supervisor seek, through prayer and discussion, to achieve a common vision by which they will direct their collaborative ministerial efforts in a particular setting. They listen to one another with love and respect as partners in ministry and together discern the voice of the Holy Spirit.
The Letter of Understanding is intended to clarify the mutual expectations and responsibilities of the deacon’s assignment through dialogue between the deacon and his supervisor.
If the deacon is an employee of a particular parish and also has other ministerial responsibilities at that parish, there may be the need for a distinct employment contract which would be cross-referenced in the Letter of Understanding. This Letter of Understanding is intended to address only the deacon’s ministerial responsibilities which are distinct from his employment with that parish.
When a deacon prepares to begin an assignment, he meets with his supervisor to discuss the services the deacon will provide to the ministry site.
The format of the Letter of Understanding reflects the deacon’s three fold ministries of Charity, Word, and Liturgy and invites the deacon and supervisor to identify together specific goals for the deacon’s ministry. In some situations, consultation with other staff members during the preparation of the Letter of Understanding may be appropriate.
The following points should be given thoughtful attention as the deacon and supervisor prepare the Letter of Understanding:
Areas of Responsibility:
The extent to which a deacon responds to the three areas of service – Charity, Word, and Liturgy – will vary according to his unique personality, gifts and talents as well as the needs of his particular community to which he is assigned. The Letter of Understanding should also indicate those duties which will be conducted wholly, or in part, outside of the ministry site assignment.
Especially with regard to the area of Liturgy, the deacon should assist at Mass, baptize, witness marriages, preside at wake services, benediction, the Liturgy of the Hours, and other appropriate services on a mutually agreeable schedule. A deacon should have the opportunity to preach on a regular basis, subject to the approval of the supervisor and the presider of the liturgy.
As a member of a parish staff, a deacon should be able to participate regularly in meetings of the staff, the pastoral council, and other appropriate collegial bodies. Although work commitments may make it difficult for the deacon to participate in staff meetings, the supervisor and the deacon should make every effort to communicate in order to share information and obtain input on matters and plans pertaining to the parish. The deacon also shares in the responsibility to initiate and maintain ongoing communication with the pastor and other staff members.
The form for the Letter of Understanding is found in Appendix 11.
The deacon who is self-supporting through his own secular employment and has family commitments will provide diaconal service and ministry in ways which do not conflict with his primary obligation to his wife and family.
A married deacon should share the Letter of Understanding with his wife so that she may be familiar with and supportive of the ministerial commitments of her husband.
The Letter of Understanding is to be one element of an ongoing process of dialogue between the deacon and his supervisor. The deacon and the supervisor should meet regularly so that the deacon may receive support and timely feedback regarding the effectiveness of his ministry as well as to deepen and unify their relationship for the benefit of each other as well as the ministry site.
The deacon and supervisor are encouraged to engage in an annual evaluation session, set in a prayerful atmosphere, designed to affirm the deacon’s past performance and to identify new goals for continued growth and development of his ministry.
The Letter of Understanding may be revised at any time by mutual consent of the deacon and the supervisor. It is recommended that the Letter of Understanding be reviewed and updated at least every 3 years, at the midpoint and the end of the term, or whenever there is a substantial change in ministry. A revised Letter of Understanding is to be prepared and submitted to the Office of the Diaconate.
If a disagreement arises between the deacon and the supervisor, especially regarding the deacon’s areas of responsibility, the first step should always be prayerful and open dialogue with each other in the effort to arrive at a mutually acceptable resolution. If this is not successful, either the deacon or the supervisor should contact the Director or the Assistant Director of Deacon Personnel so that resolution of the disagreement may be facilitated.
The role of the mentor is to provide an opportunity to establish a supportive relationship for the newly ordained deacon: specifically to serve as a confidential advisor, guide, and personal resource. The mentor’s role is intended to be a clear sign of concern, care, and support and not as an evaluator, reporter, or liaison.
Responsibility for initiating and maintaining contact between the deacon and the mentor belongs to the deacon. The deacon meets with his mentor on a quarterly schedule at a minimum. Additional contact can occur at other times.
It is expected that the contact between mentor and deacon will be a positive experience and an aid in the deacon’s personal, spiritual, and leadership growth.
The official retirement age is 75 years. Three months before reaching his 75th birthday, each deacon must submit a letter of intention to the Archbishop, to be effective on his 75th birthday. In special circumstances, the Archbishop may defer retirement.
The deacon will consult with his pastor/supervisor. Following this consultation:
On approval of the retirement request:
If because of health, long-term inhibiting family responsibilities, or other circumstances, it is discerned that the deacon is incapable of performing his diaconal duties, the Archbishop may suggest or direct the deacon to serve in retired status.
(Committee review 12-11-2020; Board review 05-04-2021; Chancellor review 06-20 2021; Ad experimentum approval 11-19-2021)