What Are the Roles and Responsibilities of a Church Deacon?

A deacon is an ordained minister of the Catholic church, and his role is to proclaim the Gospel, teach in the name of the church and preach. Some of his responsibilities include baptizing, leading prayer, witnessing marriages and conducting services at funerals or wakes.

Deacons are one of the three types of ordained ministers within the Catholic church, which include, in addition to the diaconate, the presbyterate and the episcopate. While priests-in-training are usually first ordained as deacons, the diaconate is a permanent order of ministry open to others who do not intend to become priests. In addition, the diaconate is open to married men over the age of 35. Similar to priests, deacons are ordained for the service of the dioceses. As such, their service is bound to a specific parish as directed by the local bishop.

In other Christian denominations where there is not a ritual requirement for the observance of sacraments, deacons carry out functions such as counting tithes and offerings, assisting as ushers during services, and working within social programs of the parish. Additionally, certain Christian denominations allow women to serve as deaconesses. The permission for the ordination of women into the diaconate is based on the interpretation of certain biblical passages, earlier understood to refer to the wives of deacons but interpreted as referring to women as deaconesses themselves as of 2015.