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Diakonia is our mission

Papal audience for the IDC was encouraging

On Saturday, June 4th, Pope Francis joyfully welcomed an IDC delegation coming from 19 countries and all continents, on the occasion of the Centre’s 50th Anniversary. The 32 delegates were accompanied by IDC Protector, Bishop Gebhard Fürst.

Bishop Dr. Gebhard Fürst, IDC Protector Bishop Dr. Gebhard Fürst, IDC Protector The Pope’s courageous and encouraging witness to a diaconal Church also gives the diaconate a new strength, said Bishop Fürst during his speech. A missionary Church, which is always present there where the light and the life of the Risen One are most lacking, also constitutes the driving force of the service of many deacons around the world. The Protector also stressed that the connection between the sacrament of Matrimony and the diaconal ordination has a fundamental importance for the Church. The majority of deacons are married and “strive to live the demands of Jesus – relying on his help – in the double sacramentality and for the good of the marginalised, of those who suffer and of those who are seeking” the Bishop said. His speech you find here!

“Diaconia is our mission!” Deacon Klaus Kießling Klaus Kießling promised Pope Francis continued faithfulness to the diaconal mission. The IDC President conveyed the following message:

Most Holy Father! We, and I personally, sincerely thank you for this opportunity to meet you today. At the same time, I thank our Protector, as well as all those who opened for us the way leading up to this moment, including those who, at this moment, are far away from us, yet spiritually very close.

Bild vergrößern Our group shows you some characteristics of the International Diaconate Centre: permanent deacons coming from all continents, some of them accompanied by their wives; representatives of our sisterly Churches, with whom we have a strong ecumenical connection; and generally women and men, including brother priests and bishops who are involved in the matters pertaining to the permanent diaconate and its independent development, for example in the CELAM.

We, the deacons of the world, are struggling with very diverse pastoral challenges. In our respective countries, the traditions concerning the diaconate vary, as does the length of their history – the diaconate, therefore has a different face and a different spirituality in each of our countries. But it is precisely these differences and this colourfulness which make the International Diaconate Centre such an inspiring place of learning for the Universal Church and such a bridge-building network: most of all, through our Study Conferences, which we have been organizing every four years since 1965; then through our tri-lingual magazine Diaconia Christi ; and last but not least through our collaboration in the international theological research on the sources of diakonia and the diaconate – in full respect for the dignity of this grade of the hierarchy, for the dignity of ordained men, but also for the dignity of all women, especially those who have questions concerning the admission to this grade of the hierarchy.

As a deacon I consider myself an ambassador of Jesus Christ, an ambassador of our God made man, who shows solidarity unto death and beyond. I believe the incarnation of God is also the starting point our own realization as human beings. As ambassadors of Jesus Christ we are called to accompany others in solidarity, through the world, as they journey towards the concretion of their humanity.

Diakonia is our mission – and that of all the Church. We gladly promise you that we will stay faithful to our diaconal mission – within the realms of our possibility and, with the strength which comes to us from Heaven – even beyond! In this context, there is a question which occupies our mind and which I dare to ask you because you are also animated by the vision of a diaconal Universal Church: Which is the place that you would assign to us, permanent deacons, within this Church?

After my first Spanish course I would like to conclude with this sentence: Santo Padre, le damos las gracias de corazón, oramos por Usted y le deseamos que Dios le siga colmando de bendiciones.

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Bishop Dr. Gebhard Fürst Address on the occasion of the audience of the International Diaconate Centre with Pope Francis (docx/149 KB)

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