It is late April as I write this column. Our parish listening sessions, which are nearly complete — three to go — are revealing many things. I am hearing about the challenges we face as church, a wide variety of perspectives, some hope and gratitude, and a fair amount of frustration and disappointment.
One aspect of the summer missions will be reaching out to those who have abandoned their involvement with the church. “The most important thing in the church today is mission. It’s the church’s main task. Pope Francis has been classic about this: We have to go out. We can’t just be a kind of Catholic ‘club.’
The permanent diaconate has an ancient history, appearing in the first years of Christianity. It waned in the Middle Ages and wasn’t revived until Pope Paul VI restored the order in 1967. Since then the diaconate has skyrocketed in the United States, including in Alaska.