What are the functions of a Permanent Deacon?

  1. The Deacon assists the main celebrant in the various liturgical celebrations of the Church. The main celebrant could be a Bishop or a Priest.
  2. The Deacon, with the Priest and Bishop, is an ordinary minister of communion and therefore distributes communion in the liturgy as a norm. He also takes communion to the home-bound, those in hospital and in the prison.
  3. The Deacon presides at a Communion Service in the absence of a Priest.
  4. The Deacon proclaims the Gospel in every instance when he is assisting and gives the homily when requested to by the celebrant.
  5. The Deacon exposes the Blessed Sacrament in the Monstrance and presides at Benediction.
  6. The Deacon confers the sacrament of Baptism.
  7. The Deacon officiates at the sacrament of Marriage and may also become a marriage officer of the State.
  8. The Deacon validly blesses persons, objects and sacramentals (water, olive oil, incense).
  9. The Deacon presides at memorial and funeral services (without Mass), burials (cemetery) and interment of ashes (garden of rest).
  10. The Deacon offers pastoral counselling to individuals, couples and families.
  11. The Deacon gives directed retreats or recollection days, pastoral workshops, faith formation talks, Catechism & RCIA lessons, marriage and baptism preparation sessions.
  12. The Deacon makes himself available for the pastoral and spiritual care of the community Ad Intra et Ad Extra.


Find out more about becoming a Deacon

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A Deacon’s Reflection is by Deacon Greg Garnie of the Archdiocese of Johannesburg, South Africa. Permanent Deacons is from the Congregation for Catholic Education & the Congregation for the Clergy.

Both books are available from Pauline’s Catholic Bookshop in Kensington, Johannesburg. A Deacon’s Reflection is also available from Amazon.com in paperback and kindle form.