Religion: The People's Ministry

In Detroit, a Roman Catholic advertising executive officiates at the wedding of his daughter. In New Mexico, an Air Force major conducts a Catholic burial service. In the high country of Bolivia, an Indian divides his time between farming and preaching the Gospel. These men are reviving an ancient form of Christian ministry that has been virtually unknown in Catholicism for centuries. They are ordained, permanent deacons.

A deacon is neither a priest nor a layman. He may not celebrate Mass or hear confessions, but he may officiate at baptisms, marriages and funerals, as well as preach. What is more, he can...

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