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Deacon numbers tipped to double

The newly reappointed National Coordinator of the Permanent Diaconate says the number of permanent deacons in Australia will double in the next five years.

The Catholic Leader reports that Deacon Shane O'Dea of Adelaide made the prediction after the Australian Catholic bishops reappointed him at their May plenary meeting as their co-ordinator of the permanent diaconate for another three years.

Deacon O'Dea is one of 60 to 70 permanent deacons in Australia.

He said dioceses had previously accepted one or two candidates at a time for formation in the permanent diaconate but a number of dioceses, including Brisbane and Perth, were now accepting 10 to 15 at a time.

Deacon O'Dea, 39, was ordained in 2000 and is a qualified accountant and tax agent, and holds a degree in philosophy and theology. He and his wife Hazel have a son.

He said his re-appointment was a wonderful affirmation of the bishops' desire to promote the ministry of deacons.

Deacon O'Dea said the role of the deacon is to be an assistant to the bishop and especially to live with the people at the fringe of society and the Church, particularly those who experience social, spiritual or financial poverty.

Catholic Leader – Deacon numbers tipped to double

ACBC link – Permanent Diaconate
Australian Catholic Deacons' Association – website

24 Jun 2004