(CNS photo/Karen Callaway, Chicago Catholic)

Change Is Upon Us

Jesus is The Deacon. All other deacons participate in the one diaconate of Christ


Often, slight changes are so subtle they go unnoticed. If I were a betting man, and I’m not, I’d bet you missed a subtle but pretty big change in this issue. Still puzzled? Turn to the cover of the magazine and look it over carefully. Go ahead, I’ll wait.

Back so soon. Did you catch it? That’s right, the publication formerly known as Deacon Digest is now The Deacon. When we rebooted the magazine in July 2018, we discussed changing the name to reflect the change in the publisher and the emphasis. At the same time, we wanted to demonstrate continuity with the past. Consequently, we started out as Deacon Digest and, to be biblical about it, in the fullness of time, we changed to The Deacon.

DD coverLike all new titles, The Deacon may appear somewhat awkward at first. The new title, by intent, shows solidarity with our brother publication, The Priest. The two magazines are quite similar in layout and design. Where they differ is in the audience they serve and the issues proper to each. Beyond this, the titles of both publications reveal, in their subtlety, something even more profound. Did you catch it?

Rather than keeping you on pins and needles, I’m going to tell you because, well, I’m just that kind of guy. By using the definite article “the” in The Priest and The Deacon, what is being conveyed is the deeply Christocentric character of the publications. Only Jesus is The Priest. All other priests participate, each in his own way, in the one priesthood of Christ (cf. Catechism of the Catholic Church, No. 1547). Likewise, only Jesus is The Deacon. All other deacons participate, each in his own way, in the one diaconate of Christ.

It is Christ the Servant who is the source of the deacon’s diaconate. It is his love that inspires us, his power that moves us, his service that arouses us to sacred ecclesial ministry. To rename the magazine after him is to give to God what is God’s. It is to glorify him and give him praise. In this respect, we’re acknowledging that without him we can do little, but with him all things are possible. This reliance on Christ the Servant is the hallmark of diaconal identity and ministry.

I can tell you that Our Sunday Visitor is deeply committed to the diaconate, and their efforts in resurrecting Deacon Digest is but one of the many ways they are supporting our order. More is to come, hint, hint. I can tell you that it’s this very support that convinced me to become editor, as it provides a national voice to the diaconate at a time when the order is just beginning to find it.

As I go around the country giving retreats and talks, I’m often complimented on the professional quality of the publication. As the editor, I play a small role in the well-oiled machine that is Our Sunday Visitor (OSV). From people like editorial director Gretchen Crowe at the top, Scott Warden and Tim Johnson as associate editors, and the striking layout and design work of Amanda Falk, the publication is a joint and highly coordinated effort. I’m both honored and humbled to be a part of this team. It’s my commitment to OSV and to you, my brothers, that The Deacon will continue to provide solid content and a national point of identification to what is the fastest-growing order in the Church.

Please remember me in your prayers, and know that I will remember you in mine.

DEACON DOMINIC CERRATO, Ph.D., is editor of The Deacon and the director of diaconal formation for the Diocese of Joliet, Illinois. He is the founder of Diaconal Ministries, where he gives national presentations and retreats to deacons and diaconal candidates. Follow him on Facebook to continue the conversation.

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