Do you have a deacon at your parish? Deacons play a beautiful and important role in the Church, but many people don’t know much about this vocation.
Andrew Garofalo recently posted on Those Catholic Men about what a deacon is, and 5 reasons the Church needs deacons right now. Garofalo also stopped by Morning Air® to discuss his journey to the diaconate, and the special gifts that deacons can offer the Church and the world.
On his current journey to becoming a deacon, Garofalo said, “The diaconate is a calling. It’s not for everyone, but what brought me to the diaconate to start out was really just trials. As human beings, our first instinct is to avoid trials at all costs, and to move away from them. But the trials that we experience in life really help us grow into the people that God wants us to be.”
“In 2009 I was an attorney,” he began. “I was very ambitious and wanted all the nice things – money, a nice car, a nice house, and all those things. And then the real estate crisis hit in 2009 and I lost a really good job working at a big law firm. That experience brought me closer to my wife and family, it made me more accessible to my children in raising them and participating in the household. Then in 2015 we were blessed with our third child, Evangeline, and she was born with a form of spina bifida. Once again, it was a great challenge to our family, but trusting in the Lord and fully relying on His grace really got us through that entire experience.”
“She was born in September 2015 and in October 2015 I came home one day and said, ‘I think I want to become a deacon.’ And my wife said, ‘I’m surprised it took you this long. I expected you to say that two years ago.’ So I contacted the director at the Archdiocese of Miami, spoke with him, went through the process, and I started my third year [of formation] this past August.”
Garofalo explained how in the midst of the crisis facing the Church, deacons can play an important role in bringing back credibility and trust in regards to ordained men.
“Deacons have been tested,” he said. “The minimum age of ordination is 35, and most deacons come into the diaconate older than that. They’ve had a chance to experience trials, grow as a human being, grow spiritually, and mature. Because deacons cannot be ordained as permanent deacons before 35 they have a track record. The bishop can review their experience as husband, father, worker in the community, and parishioner. They can really get a sense of who this person is because they have a track record.”
But deacons can not only offer something to the Church, but also to the world. The sexual abuse crisis and the #MeToo movement have shown that both the Church and the world need men who can model love, service, and healthy masculinity. Garofalo explained how deacons can be that model that our culture desperately needs.
“Christ is the ideal for what manliness is,” he said. “He showed us what it means to be a servant and a man. And I think that deacons represent that well, because we are balancing life at home, usually with a wife, children, a household. We have our own jobs, usually working outside the Church in the secular world. And so the world is thirsting for a model, not only within the Church but outside the Church, of what a real man is. A man is not only what we see on TV, the macho image and someone who is only focused on worldly things.”
Read more reasons the Church (and the world) needs deacons at Those Catholic Men and listen to the full conversation with Andrew Garofalo below: