Pastoral plan should provide tasks for deacons
The first deacon was ordained in Ecuador in 1979
With a spirit of joy, of change, of a living Church looking at the world, the Second Vatican Council was opened on 11th October 1962, restoring the Permanent Diaconate as a proper rank of the Ordained Ministry of the Church.
In Ecuador, the first Permanent Ordained Deacon was on October 4th 1979, 17 years after the Second Vatican Council; later on, many vocations were crystallizing. To date, we have 69 Deacons in ten Provinces of the 24 that are in our country. The path to get to our Bishops’ fluid acceptance of the Order of the Permanent Diaconate, has been slow. Our Bishops have led the Church of Ecuador, so that the Church is nourished by the favour of men called by the Lord to this Work of Service; with the Blessing of the Lord, their slow work has given its fruit; in 2.003 Monsignor Vicente Cisneros established the School of the Permanent Diaconate in the City of Cuenca; in 2015, Msgr. Antonio Arregui, Bishop of Guayaquil approved the creation of the Training Seminar for candidates for the Permanent Diaconate. The Project is ready in our Diocese of Ambato. At the Ecuadorian Episcopal Conference through the Episcopal Commission of Ministries and Consecrated Life, Monsignor Eduardo Castillo coordinates an annual retreat for all Permanent Deacons of Ecuador. In each of the jurisdictions an internal communication of reflection, coordination and follow-up to the service is maintained.
Challenges and Opportunities
Pope Francis states that the Permanent Deacon “is the custodian of service in the Church”. Therefore, the Bishop’s call must arise, distributing the tasks on the basis of his Pastoral Plan, to give the vital impulse in the visible sign of the diakonia of Christ the Servant. Our Bishop Monsignor Jorge Giovanny Pazmiño, for example, called me to join the service of the Sub-Direction of the Caritas Social Pastoral of the Diocese of Ambato and also to be part of the Governing Council of Goods. These are the calls we expect; but on the other hand, some Priests consider the Deacon as an Acolyte and many of our deacon brothers are professionals and have integrated into the community with the example of life, as a family; in this situation, they hope, praying humbly and patiently, that this will change in front of an uncertain future; we are only in the hands of the Lord. Today the diaconate makes more sense than ever, to serve the brothers and sisters in the name of Christ the Servant, in all the difficult and precarious situations that are surely to come, with hope, united in prayer. Today the diaconate makes more sense than ever, to serve the brothers and sisters in the name of Christ the Servant, in all the difficult and precarious situations that are surely to come, with hope, united in prayer.
The objective of the diaconate leads to being light, salt of this earth, faithful to the service of the Word and of the most vulnerable, the poor. As Pope Francis says, “to be a life-giving sign for the whole Church,” and to give ourselves under that sentence of the Mexican brethren: “to serve and serve without presiding”, and only the eyes of faith can see the usefulness of the ministry of the Permanent Deacons.
Deacon Econ. Jorge Grijalva Salazar