On Saturday, May 20, Bishop Kemme will ordain ten of our seminarians to the Transitional Diaconate. One of those men, Nicholaus ‘Nic’ Jurgensmeyer has been assigned to minister here at St. Thomas for the summer months. Deacon Nic is from Miami, OK (pronounced Miama for those of us not from Oklahoma). His first day on the job will be next Monday, May 22 and he’ll be with us through the month of July.
The word deacon derives from the Greek diakonia, meaning “service,” thereby indicating that a deacon is called like Christ to be a servant. A deacon has three essential roles: to proclaim the Gospel, to serve at Mass and help the community in works of charity. In particular, he may baptize, witness the exchange of vows and bless marriages, distribute Holy Communion, have benediction with the Blessed Sacrament, bring Viaticum to the dying, read Sacred Scripture to the faithful and especially proclaim the Gospel, preach, officiate at funerals and burials.
Please note that unlike a priest, deacons cannot absolve sins in the Sacrament of Penance, offer the Mass or confect the Holy Eucharist, administer the Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick, or administer the Sacrament of Confirmation.
Over the course of time, the Order of Deacon in the Latin Church evolved from a permanent state into a transitional period prior to ordination to the Priesthood, hence the distinction between a permanent deacon and a transitional deacon. The diaconate became like an internship, whereby a man was ordained as a deacon and made the promise of celibacy, and then continued final studies for the priesthood and served in a parish for practical experience until the time of Ordination to the Priesthood.
The Second Vatican Council proposed that the permanent diaconate be restored to the Latin Rite. Most dioceses in the U.S. have permanent deacons. The Diocese of Wichita has not developed a program of education/formation for the diaconate and have only four deacons working in the Diocese of Wichita. All four have been ordained elsewhere and were transferred by their jobs to Kansas.
Deacon Nic is a transitional deacon. Please God, he will be ordained a priest in May 2018! When you see Deacon Nic, make sure you welcome him to the parish!