Plenary voices: Deacon Colin Nunis

The deacon brings the Eucharist to the forgotten, awkward corners of the world, says Deacon Colin Nunis at the Plenary

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Deacon Nunis swings a censer during the Liturgy. Deacons, he says, stand among and within the faithful. Photo: supplied

Addressing you from the land of the Wurundjeri people of the Kulin nation.

Considering the questions presented in the agenda centred on the Church’s ministry to those “on the margins” and continued examination of the Church’s synodal way, I propose that the Council consider the unique ministry of deacons as intermediaries bridging the gaps within the Church, and between the Church and the rest of the world.

While the deacon is a sacred minister by virtue of ordination, the ministry of the deacon is more appropriately a bridge between priests and bishops, and the People of God. But, because the deacon is not a priest, he stands amongst and within the faithful, binds them together, and collectively brings their needs to the Eucharistic altar before bringing these gifts back from the altar to the People of God, both within the Church and “on the margins.”

In imitation of Christ the Servant, deacons lead the Church in taking that Eucharistic celebration and vision of the Kingdom of God into the world. Though they do not preside at the Eucharist, the deacon is responsible for bringing the Eucharist to the forgotten, awkward corners of the world. Without diaconal ministry alongside that of the priest (or bishop) in the Liturgy, the Church can become inward-looking. More importantly, the priestly role of presiding at the Eucharist may become diluted and deprived of its outworking in mission.

Hence, in closing, I ask the Council to consider the “new wine” that the diaconate could bring to this renewed vision of a mission-driven and mission-structured Church; founded on the apostles with Jesus Christ as the Chief Cornerstone (Eph. 2:21). A Church on mission must involve the whole Body of Christ, not segments of it. We have deacons because we have priests, not because of a shortage.