Deacons should be in all the Spanish dioceses
A few years after the end of the Second Vatican Council, the Cardinal Archbishops of Barcelona and Seville, Dr. Narcís Jubany and Dr. José María Bueno Monreal, together with the Bishop of Malaga, Msgr. Ramon Buxarrais, promoted the renewal of the diaconate as an own and permanent degree in the Spanish dioceses. They relied on the experience and orientation of the International Centre of the Diaconate and on Cardinal Corrado Ursi, from Naples, and on Italian priests and deacons. At the end of the 1970s, the first Diocesan Decrees establishing the permanent diaconate began to be published.
The first ordination of the restored diaconate took place in the Archdiocese of Barcelona on November 8th 1980 and was conferred on Lluís Nadal Padró, catechist, married and father of four children.
In 1984, the Spanish Episcopal Conference, to help to consolidate its renewal, founded the Episcopal Committee for the Permanent Diaconate, formed by three bishops and with the collaboration of some priests and deacons. Since then, the Committee has played an important role in the development of the establishment of the permanent diaconate in the Spanish dioceses.
In 2000, the Basic Standards for the Formation of Permanent Deacons in the Spanish Dioceses were approved,
The growth of permanent diaconate in Spain has been slow compared to other countries. Currently, there are 435 deacons in Spain, in 50 dioceses.
Balancing family and work realities with the exercise of diaconal ministry is one of the fundamental challenges faced by married deacons. This requires dialogue and generosity between spouses and support and understanding from bishops and priests.
It is also important to consider deacons for their identity of representing Christ the Servant in the Church, not as second-rate substitute priests or as promoted sacristans.
Most permanent deacons are married and practice a civil profession. It is an enrichment that implies the possibility of building a bridge between communities and the rest of the hierarchy.
Since November1985, the Spanish Episcopal Committee has organized an annual meeting of permanent deacons and wives of the Spanish dioceses, which has been held in different regions to date. It is a good opportunity to promote mutual knowledge, the exchange of different pastoral experiences and the deepening of permanent training.
An important objective is that there are deacons in all the Spanish dioceses, so that the diaconate may be valued as a gift of the Holy Spirit to the Church, and that its restoration is not especially because of the shortage of priests.
Another objective is giving deacons more missions on the new frontiers, in accordance with Pope Francis’ evangelizing desire.
Montserrat Martinez, Barcelona, IDC Board