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Understanding the Diaconate


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About the Author

W. Shawn McKnight is the pastor of the Church of the Magdalen in Wichita, KS and former Executive Director for the Secretariat of Clergy, Conscecrated Life and Vocations at the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.


"A comprehensive biblical, historical, theological, sociological, and pastoral journey that brings to light new and important insights into the role of deacons. Extrabiblical and patristic texts further elucidate how the Church has viewed the diaconate through the centuries, and the experience of deacons since the restoration of the diaconate as a permanent ministry adds further insight. The clarity Bishop McKnight offers regarding what is specific to the deacon provides a critical understanding of diaconal ministry and the forms it can take now and well into the future. An excellent study that will enhance both the formation of deacons and the Church's understanding of this vital ministry."--J. Peter Sartain, Archbishop of Seattle

"Bishop Shawn McKnight in Understanding the Diaconate has with penetrating insight, theological precision, and pastoral awareness opened for all of us a great window onto the permanent diaconate. This is an essential read for anyone who would want to better understand why the Council's restoration of the permanent diaconate has such significance for the Church now and well into the future. -"--His Eminence Donald Cardinal Wuerl, Archbishop of Washington"Understanding the Diaconate is the perfect complement to the fiftieth anniversary of the renewal of the diaconate in the Latin Church. McKnight offers a clear perspective on the historical and theological development of the order but more importantly identifies paths that can enhance the unique ministry of the deacon as intermediary, symbol, and animator of Christian service for his bishop and the Church as a whole. The insights offered in Understanding the Diaconate will help the Order of Deacon to attain its potential as envisioned by the Second Vatican Council."--Deacon Thomas R. Dubois, MPS, Executive Director, National Association of Diaconate Directors"What a gift! Understanding the Diaconate is a welcome addition to the library of any deacon or deacon candidate. Rich in research and historical scholarship, this book should lead not only to more people understanding the diaconate but should also help change the discussion about deacons from What can they do? to What can they be? Coming on the fiftieth anniversary of the restoration of the diaconate, this invaluable book makes that discussion even more timely and important."--Deacon Greg Kandra, journalist and writer, The Deacon's Bench, Patheos.com

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