Today the Church honors St. Philip the Deacon who is mentioned in the Acts of the Apostles. In the sixth chapter of Acts, we read:
Now during those days, when the disciples were increasing in number, the Hellenists complained against the Hebrews because their widows were being neglected in the daily distribution of food. And the twelve called together the whole community of the disciples and said, ‘It is not right that we should neglect the word of God in order to wait at tables. Therefore, friends, select from among yourselves seven men of good standing, full of the Spirit and of wisdom, whom we may appoint to this task, while we, for our part, will devote ourselves to prayer and to serving the word.’ What they said pleased the whole community, and they chose Stephen, a man full of faith and the Holy Spirit, together with Philip, Prochorus, Nicanor, Timon, Parmenas, and Nicolaus, a proselyte of Antioch. They had these men stand before the apostles, who prayed and laid their hands on them. (Acts 6: 1-6).
The word “deacon” comes from the Greek word διάκονος (diakonos), meaning “servant”. Philip and his companions served others, and especially those who were less fortunate, like the widows we hear about in the Acts of the Apostles. At that time, a woman whose husband predeceased her was virtually destitute. She would have no one to care for her financially. In the Acts of the Apostles, we read how the Church cared for those who had no one to care for them. That was the role of the deacon then, and that is the role of the deacon today.
There are 2 types of deacons: transitional and vocational or permanent deacons. All priests are ordained deacons first and serve in that capacity for at least 6 months prior to being ordained priests. Vocational deacons, on the other hand, are men and women who are ordained deacons and who will remain deacons permanently. Theirs is a servant ministry.
The Diocese of Texas states that a vocational deacons is “A cleric ordained to the Sacred Order of Deacons or Diaconate, one of the three Holy Orders. Deacons are called to fulfill a vocation, as well as a ministry, in the world under the direction of the bishop. While in the world, a deacon interprets the needs of the world, and then communicates such needs to the bishop and the greater church at large. In turn, a deacon ministers to the world as directed by the bishop. Liturgically, a deacon reads the Gospel, sets the table, leads the Prayers of the People and dismisses the congregation.”
Let us pray: Holy God, no one is excluded from your love; and your truth transforms the minds of all who seek you: As your servant Philip was led to embrace the fullness of your salvation and to bring the stranger to Baptism, so give us all the grace to be heralds of the Gospel, proclaiming your love in Jesus Christ our Savior, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.
Blessing of the animals for St. Francis on Saturday, 13 October at 11:00 a.m. on the lawn in front of the cross.
The Adult Christian Education series on the Lord’s Prayer continues this Sunday. Please join the Bains for this wonderful study.
Please remember everyone on our Prayer List, especially all of those who are ill, including Patricia and Steve.
Your servant in Christ,
Fr. Chester J. Makowski+St. Augustine of Hippo Episcopal Church
Galveston, Texas 77550