The Deacons in Brazil
“If it is God’s will, a single man can move the whole world”. (Deacon João Luiz Pozzobon)
Permanent deacons in Brazil are organized into Diocesan Commissions, Regional Commissions (which follow the sections of the Episcopal Conference), and the National Commission of Deacons of Brazil – CND. The CND is an ecclesiastical institution linked to the National Conference of Bishops of Brazil – CNBB, whose guidelines follow and are related to the Episcopal Pastoral Commission that the CNBB designates, in which the Brazilian deacons express and materialize, at the national level, the communion hierarchical with the presbyters and the bishops, in the edification of the Body of Christ, that is the Church. (CND Statute, Art. 1).
CND members are elected at the General Assembly for a 4-year term. Diocesan and regional commissions have their own rules but generally follow the same regulation. From 03/30 to 04/01/23 we had an elective General Assembly and elected a new presidency. On the occasion, the previous presidency presented a report about the deaconate in the country and the main actions carried out in the last four years. Investments were made to modernize the entity’s website, newsletter, and social media to disseminate information of interest to the deacons and promote moments of ongoing formation and meetings to deal with administrative aspects. This movement has given more visibility to the CND activities around the whole country.
A new Diaconal Identification Card was developed, with excellent aesthetics and security mechanisms that allow being accessed anywhere in the world, thus attesting to its authenticity in a matter of seconds. To increasingly disseminate the diaconal vocation and answer the many questions that come to us, was created an online meeting called “Momento CND” to respond to such inquiries and, at the same time, give visibility to our service and our vocation. “Momento CND” is broadcast on social networks and is open to the public.
Every year, Saint Lawrence Week is held, whose purpose is to address relevant themes and reflections when the festivities of our patron saint.
The promotion of Diaconal Literature in our midst is very important and deacons have been encouraged to write more about the diaconate in the Church. Currently, we have a greater variety of works already published and many more are being elaborated.
The number of dioceses with the presence of deacons to date is 207, out of the 279 ecclesiastical circumscriptions in the country. Therefore, there are 72 dioceses that still do not have the presence of permanent deacons. Of this number, some dioceses have recently begun the formative process, and, in the future, their first deacons will be ordained. We currently have 4,743 deacons affiliated with the CND, but it is estimated that there are more than 6,000 deacons in Brazil.
The deacons who left for the Father’s house in recent years totaled 148. Of these, 68 were affected by Covid-19.
The CND has agreements with institutes that enable the training of deacons at both undergraduate and postgraduate levels for those enrolled in the CND, extended to family members and diaconal schools that lack the structure for the intellectual training of their aspirants to the diaconate, with special prices, as well as accessible.
During the last administration, it acquired its own headquarters for the CND – Espaço Diácono João Luiz Pozzobon, located in Brasília. Deacon Francisco Salvador Pontes Filho, the president who left office at the last assembly, participated in the Synod for the Amazon, as an auditor, where he had the opportunity to speak in plenary, leaving our message and some concerns and suggestions that we believe to be recorded in the annals of the Synod. relevant and necessary. He met with dear Pope Francis, a very important moment in which he had the opportunity to speak about the life and ministry of the Diaconate in Brazil, focusing on the pastoral and social life of permanent deacons in the Amazon and the timid presence of the diaconal vocation in that region. The Pope was surprised by the small number of deacons in the Brazilian Amazon.
The CND was also present at the Continental Stage of the Southern Cone, of the Synod of Bishops 2021/2024, which brought together five countries, Brazil, Argentina, Chile, Uruguay, and Paraguay. Seven permanent deacons participated. During this meeting, it was suggested that the International Center for Diaconate in Latin America (CIDAL) be recreated, with the support of CELAM, as a body for articulating and promoting the vocation of permanent deacons in Latin America and the Caribbean and the participation of permanent deacons in the next synod. During the last elective assembly, Deacon José Oliveira Cavalcante (Deacon Cory) was elected president for the years 2023-2026 and among his goals is to seek to increase the number of affiliates, intensify the ongoing formation effort, encourage interregional meetings, and accompany the beatification process of Deacon João Luiz Pozzobon.
New CND board takes office
Dom João Francisco Salm, diocesan bishop of Novo Hamburgo (RS), president of the Episcopal Pastoral Commission for Ordained Ministries and Consecrated Life of the CNBB and reference bishop of the Deacons of Brazil, presided over the Closing Mass of the XII Elective General Assembly of the CND, held at the “Dom Luciano Mendes de Almeida” Retreat House in Brasília (DF), where those elected to compose the new Presidency of the National Commission of Deacons took office.
The following were elected: President – Deacon José Oliveira Cavalcante (Cory); Vice President – Deacon Antonio Oliveira dos Santos; Treasurer – Deacon Rosendir Guimarães de Souza; 2nd Treasurer – Deacon Márcio Damião de Almeida; Secretary – Deacon Leandro Marcelino Santos; 2nd Secretary – Deacon Márcio Honório de Oliveira e Silva.
Learn more about deaconate in Brazil by visiting www.cnd.org.br.