Report on the Jubilee celebration for the 50th anniversary of the International Diaconate Center
The Jubilee for the 50th anniversary of the International Diaconate Centre (IDC) was held in Rome and Assisi from 21 to 25 October, 2015. In all, 574 people, deacons, wives, priests and bishops from 35 countries around the world gathered for this celebration. Most of them stayed at Fraterna Domus on the outskirts of Rome.
There were various celebrations, reflections, prayers, testimonies and pilgrimages during the Jubilee. It is worth mentioning the Eucharists held at Fraterna Domus, in the Basilica of San Lorenzo and the Basilica di San Francesco in Assisi; and Cardinal Stella, prefect of the Congregation for the clergy in the Holy See, presided at the Eucharist celebrated at the beginning of the Jubilee. Due to the cancellation of the audience with Pope Francis, he sent a message of greeting, with the Apostolic Blessing, to the Jubilee participants.
The Jubilee theme was “The Diaconate: past, present, future”. The various presentations responded to the different aspects of the statement. They were about the history of the renewal of the diaconate as a permanent order and the history of the IDC; the reality of the diaconate in different parts of the world; and proposals on how the Church should be more merciful. After the presentations, the Jubilee participants formed groups, according to language groups, to discuss these topics and ask questions about the Church and the diaconate of the future.
Some couples presented testimonies of their vocation and the husband’s diaconal ministry. The deacons who received the Pro Diaconia Prize presented beautiful testimonies of diaconal work; the prize was granted for the first time by the Bishop of Rottenburg-Stuttgart, Bishop Gebhard Fürst, Protector of the IDC.
During the Jubilee people shared many moments of joy, at meals, on trips and at the final party.
The celebration of the Jubilee has created and strengthened fraternity among the participants. We thank God for the path covered in the restoration of the permanent diaconate in the Church and we ask the Lord for the grace and the strength of his Spirit to continue the diaconal task that Christ has entrusted to us – to be witnesses of his love in the world.
Montserrat Martinez, November 2015