History of the Diaconate

The first deacons are described in the Acts of the Apostles and referred to in the writings of St. Paul. In Acts 6:1-6 seven men of good reputation among the Christian community are chosen to assist the apostles in the care of the community’s needs.

Deacons were relied upon as leaders and enablers of local apostolic communities, as related in several places both in the New Testament and writings of the Fathers of the Church. Deacons assisted the episcopal ministry of the early Church, acting as the bridge between the bishop and the local community’s needs.

Deacons were examples of loyal faith and dedicated service to the Church, especially St. Stephen, St. Lawrence, and St. Francis of Assisi. 

The restoration of the order of Permanent Deacons, seen as vital to the life of the Church by the bishops of Vatican Council II, has been implemented and enhanced by Pope Paul VI, the National Catholic Conference of Bishops, and Pope John Paul II.

In the Sacramento Diocese, the restored Order of Permanent Diaconate began in 1977 with the first class of permanent deacons ordained in 1981. The Permanent Diaconate has received the encouragement and support of the past and present bishops of our Sacramento Diocese: Bishop Alden Bell, Bishop Francis Quinn, Auxiliary Bishop Alphonse Gallegos, Auxiliary Bishop Richard Garcia, Bishop William Weigand, Auxiliary Bishop Myron Cotta and Bishop Jaime Soto.