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Official Website of the
Catholic Diocese of Little Rock
Published: January 18, 2018
By Father Erik Pohlmeier
Director of Permanent Diaconate Formation
The mission of the Church has always depended on a wide variety of people willing to give themselves in service. In addition to heroic workers we often celebrate as saints, there are more behind-the-scenes people who find holiness in daily fidelity.
Because no soul goes unnoticed by God, he sends workers to tend their needs with compassion. In the early days of the Church, the number of disciples grew rapidly and groups like widows were being neglected. Seven men “filled with the Spirit and wisdom” were appointed to reach out to them.
With those seven men the ministry of diaconate was born in the Church. Since that time countless neglected souls have experienced the mercy of a loving God through the words and hands of deacons. As director of the current class of permanent deacons it is my privilege to work with men and couples who are deeply committed to understanding God’s will for their lives.
These are men that will one day serve our diocese in many different ways. Their ministry will bear fruit known only to God at this early stage, but their lives already stand as witness to generosity and faith.
After a long process of discernment groups and applications we have 67 aspirants in their first of five years of formation. These are men that will one day serve our diocese in many different ways. Their ministry will bear fruit known only to God at this early stage, but their lives already stand as witness to generosity and faith.
At a time when so many people complain of the busyness of their lives, these men in formation are spending a weekend a month going to classes, meeting with spiritual directors and receiving homework. They are taking on a public role that will come with increased expectations from others, preparation of homilies and personal investment in the suffering of God’s people.
None of this will come with any financial reward for their efforts. And yet, this large number has entered formation and set their sights on a reward that can only come from God.
As the First Letter of Peter tells us, “Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms. If anyone speaks, they should do so as one who speaks the very words of God. If anyone serves, they should do so with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever.”
In the Diocese of Little Rock we speak often of the importance of vocations. Our prayers for vocations have borne fruit in the number of seminarians and deacon aspirants we have. But, our work of prayer is still needed. The path of formation for them still requires sacrifice and a willingness to be shaped by God. There will be many obstacles they still face, but the support of faith communities is invaluable. Invest your prayers in this work of God in his Church. The mission of noticing and reaching the neglected is important to the heart of our loving Father. Our deacons and future deacons “filled with the Spirit and wisdom” are called and sent to the benefit of us all.