addresses permanent deacons and their families during Jubilee celebration in
On 18-20 February permanent deacons from around the world celebrated their
Jubilee in Rome. On Friday evening they prayed the Rosary and attended
Eucharistic adoration at the Basilica of St Mary Major. On Saturday morning they
participated in Holy Mass in the Paul VI Hall and listened to a conference on St
Laurence as an example for today's deacons. The talk was followed by an audience
with the Holy Father. In the evening there was a meeting for married permanent
deacons and their families at the Church of the Holy Spirit "in Sassia",
followed by a penitential procession of all the deacons from the obelisk in St
Peter's Square through the Holy Door into the Vatican Basilica. On the last day
Cardinal Dario Castrillon Hoyos, Prefect of the Congregation for the Clergy,
celebrated Mass with diaconal ordinations at the Altar of the Chair in St
Peter's Basilica. At his audience with permanent deacons and their families on
Saturday, 19 February, the Holy Father gave the following address in Italian.
Here is a translation.
Venerable Brothers in the Episcopate and the Priesthood,
Dear Deacons and your relatives,
1. It is a great joy for me to meet you at this significant Jubilee event. I
greet Cardinal Dario Castrillon Hoyos, Prefect of the Congregation for the
Clergy, and his assistants who have organized these intense days of prayer and
brotherhood. I greet the Cardinals and prelates gathered here. I especially
greet you, dear permanent deacons, your families and everyone who has
accompanied you on this pilgrimage to the tombs of the Apostles.
You have come to Rome to celebrate your Jubilee: I welcome you with
affection! This is an excellent occasion to reflect on the meaning and value of
your permanent and not transitory identity as those ordained not for the
priesthood, but for the diaconate (cf. Second Vatican Council Lumen gentium, n.
29). As ministers of God's People, you are called to work in liturgical service,
in teaching and catechesis, and in the service of charity in communion with the
Bishop and the presbyterate. And this extraordinary year of grace, which is the
Jubilee, aims at helping you grasp even more radically the beauty of life in
Christ. Life in the One who is the Holy Door!
Have trust In Jesus who redeemed us by the Cross
2. In fact, the Jubilee is an important time for self-examination and inner
purification, but also for recovering that missionary awareness inherent in the
mystery of Christ and the Church. Whoever believes that Christ the Lord is the
way, the truth and the life, whoever knows that the Church is his continuation
in history, whoever has a personal experience of all this cannot fail, for this
very reason, to become fervently missionary. Dear deacons, be active apostles of
the new evangelization. Lead everyone to Christ! Through your efforts, may his
kingdom also spread in your family, in your workplace, in the parish, in the
Diocese, in the whole world!
This mission, at least in intention and zeal, must stir the hearts of sacred
ministers and spur them to the total gift of themselves. Let nothing stop you,
but persevere in fidelity to Christ, following the example of the deacon
Laurence whose revered and celebrated relic you have wished to bring here for
In our times too there are people whom God calls to the martyrdom of blood;
far more numerous, however, are those believers who must endure the
"martyrdom" of misunderstanding. Do not be upset by problems and
conflicts but, on the contrary, have ever greater trust in Jesus who redeemed
humanity through the martyrdom of the Cross.
3. Dear deacons, let us enter the new millennium with the whole Church, who
urges her children to purify themselves, through repentance, of past errors and
instances of infidelity, inconsistency and slowness to act (cf. Apostolic Letter
Tertio millennio adveniente, n. 33). The first to set the example must be
the ordained ministers: Bishops, priests, deacons. This purification and this
repentance arc to be understood as referring especially to each one of us
personally. Our consciences as sacred ministers working in this era are the
first to be challenged.
Before the Holy Door we sense the need to "break away" from our selfish
world, from our doubts, from our infidelities, and we hear the pressing
invitation to "enter" the holy world of Jesus, which is the world of
full fidelity to the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church. The divine
Teacher's words echo in our hearts: "Come to me, all who labour and are
heavy laden, and I will give you rest" (Mt 11:28).
Dear deacons, perhaps some of you are tired because of the burden of your
duties, because of frustration due to unsuccessful apostolic projects, because
many misunderstand you. Do not lose heart! Throw yourselves into Christ's arms:
he will refresh you. May this be your Jubilee: a pilgrimage of conversion to
Your spirituality Is essentially one of service
4. Faithful to Christ in all things, dear deacons, you will also be faithful
to the various ministries the Church entrusts to you. How valuable is your
service to the Word and to catechesis! And what can we say of the diakonia of
the Eucharist, which brings you into direct contact with the altar of sacrifice
in your liturgical service?
In addition, you rightly strive to live without separating your liturgical
service from that of charity in its concrete forms. This shows that the sign of
Gospel love cannot be reduced to categories of mere solidarity but follows as a
logical consequence of the Eucharistic mystery.
By virtue of the sacramental bond that unites you with the Bishops and
priests, you live ecclesial communio to the full. Although the diaconal
brotherhood in your Diocese does not constitute a structural reality analogous
to that of the priests, it spurs you to share the Pastors' concern. All the
features of your specific spirituality, which is essentially a spirituality of
service, clearly flow from your identity as deacons.
5. Dear friends, the Jubilee is an appropriate time to restore the original
and authentic features of this identity and this spirituality, so that every
apostolic energy can be interiorly renewed and mobilized.
Christ's question: "When the Son of man comes, will he find faith on
earth?" (Lk 18:8) resounds with particular eloquence on this Jubilee
Faith must be passed on and communicated. It is also your task to share with
the younger generation the one unchanging Gospel of salvation, so that the
future will be filled with hope for everyone.
May the Blessed Virgin sustain you in this mission. I accompany you with my
prayer, strengthened by a special Apostolic Blessing, which I cordially
impart to you, to your wives, to your children and to a the deacons who serve
the Gospel in every part of the world.