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First ordination in 2012

Beginnings

The first permanent deacon in Honduras was ordained in April 2012 for the archdiocese of Tegucigalpa. He is the founder and rector of the Catholic University of Honduras. The second, also, a college professor, was ordained in 2015 in Tegucigalpa and the third for the archdiocese in 2018. There is another permanent deacon in the archdiocese of Tegucigalpa who was ordained in San Francisco, California, and works with a mission community in a poor district in Comayagüela. All four are married.
Ordination in July 2016 Ordination in July 2016 I was ordained in July 2016 for the diocese of Santa Rosa de Copán, the first in our diocese. I had come to the diocese in 2007 as a lay missionary. I am celibate and minister in a rural parish.
The Honduran Bishops Conference is in the process of establishing norms and a directory for the permanent diaconate.

Challenges

The major challenge is to initiate national and diocesan plan. The bishop of Santa Rosa e Copan, who is in charge of the pastoral of the clergy in the bishops’ conference, Monseñor Darwin Andino, is pushing forward this process at both levels.

Opportunities

Our bishop is very open to the permanent diaconate. The national bishops’ conference is moving forward in the preparation of the church documents.
In many parts of the country there are delegates of the Word who coordinate the Sunday Celebrations of the Word in remote towns and villages. We might be able to find some candidates among them.

Goals

The only experience of a deacon that most people have here is the transitional deacon. Many have no idea of the nature and role of the diaconate as a permanent state.
Getting directions while helping a medical brigade Getting directions while helping a medical brigade Up to this point the deacons ordained in Honduras have advanced university degrees. Yet there is a low level of formal education in Honduras, especially in rural areas. Ae we going to open the permanent diaconate to those who have no more than six years of formal education? Many delegates and pastoral workers exercise the diaconal charism without being ordained – aiding the marginalized, reflecting on the readings in Sunday Celebration, and being catechists.
The presence in Honduras since 1966 of Delegates of the Word, presiding in celebrations in remote villages. How can the permanent diaconate be integrated in the diocesan and parish structures to further the ministry of layperson?
Baptism of some young women in a rural village Baptism of some young women in a rural village Another problem is the presence of a ”boss” mentality. In some villages, delegates function as the leaders and make most decisions pertaining to the local church/ I think that this is related to clericalism which is strong in Honduras, especially with many laypersons, many times more so among the poor.
Another problem is the lack of understanding of the theology and practice of the permanent diaconate among the clergy. Some see the deacon mostly as a person to help in the liturgy. How can the permanent deacon be an icon of Christ the Servant? How can we promote the deacon as the animator of the diakonia of all the faithful?
Finally, to avoid a diaconate that is merely functional, limited to serving at the altar and inside the church structures, I see the need of a profile of the deacons serving at the margins.

Deacon John Donaghy, Diocese of Santa Rosa de Copán


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