WASHINGTON (October 24, 1997) -- Deacon John Pistone, head of the U.S. Bishops' Secretariat for the Diaconate, was elected a member of the Assembly of Delegates of the International Centre for the Diaconate.
As a delegate he will represent the more than 11,000 deacons in the United States.
His election took place during Centre's Oct. 9-12 annual conference in Brixen, Italy.
The Conference studied the question, "Do you know the poor of your city?" and drew 240 delegates, including eight Bishops from across the world and 22 delegates from the United States. Delegates attended from 20 countries on four continents.
At the meeting, delegates considered the role of the deacon in today's Church and concluded that a deacon is not a "stop gap" for the shortage of priests, but is unique and mirrors the work carried out by the early deacons of the Church.
Speakers included Archbishop Crescenzio Sepe, Secretary of the Vatican Congregation for Clergy, who delivered a lecture on the forthcoming Vatican directory, "The Life and Ministry of the Deacon." The directory is slated for release in January.
Deacon Pistone was ordained to the diaconate in 1972 and has headed the Bishops' Secretariat for the Diaconate since July 15, 1996.
The NCCB Diaconate Office networks with 156 diocesan directors of the diaconate and presidents of six diaconate-related associations. More than 11,000 deacons serve in parishes, on diocesan staffs and in other church work nationwide.
Deacons are ordained ministers and can officiate at baptisms, weddings, wake services and funerals. They also preach, teach and are engaged in the pastoral care of the sick. All are intended to carry out works of charity, pastoral service, social justice, and promote and support the apostolic activities of the laity.