In addition to the events and opportunities available to all clergy, deacons gather for a semi-annual day-long meeting with the Bishop (usually on a Friday in January and June). Deacons are overseen by Bishop Fitzpatrick.
FAQs About Deacons
If a parishioner wants to know more about becoming a deacon, where should I refer him or her?
Start by checking these Diocesan web pages: Ordination Process, and Discernment for Ministry.
My parish cannot afford an assistant priest but I need help. May I request a deacon?
The deacon's primary ministry is to inspire and engage others in participation in God's mission of restoration and reconciliation. This primarily involves inspiring others to ministry in the world, which often involves serving the poor, sick, weak, and lonely, usually outside the church. The deacon's role in an assigned parish is to encourage and model the ministry of service that every Christian promised at baptism, and to represent the service of all Christians through the deacon's liturgical role. Expectations for a deacon are quite different from the expectations for a priest or even for a transitional deacon engaged in parish ministry.
What is a "transitional deacon"?
In the Episcopal Church, anyone who will be ordained a priest must first be ordained a deacon, for at least six months. Because such people are "in transition" to becoming a priest, they are called transitional deacons. Deacons who do not feel called to the ministry of a priest are sometimes called "vocational deacons" in order to distinguish between the two.
How do I request to have a deacon assigned to my congregation?
A request may be made in writing to Bishop Fitzpatrick’s office. A conversation will take place to explore the congregation's expectations vs. the expectations of deacons in this diocese. The bishop's assignment of deacons depends on geography, special circumstances, and demand. Currently, the demand is greater than the supply.
Who supervises deacons?
Deacons are always directly accountable to the Bishop. Therefore, in the Diocese of Hawai‘i, deacons are accountable to Bishop Fitzpatrick. In a congregation, the deacon is supervised by the rector or the clergy-in-charge. Expectations for the deacon's assignment are detailed in an agreement signed by the deacon, priest, and bishop. Priest and deacon meet at least monthly for supervision. Deacons report to Bishop Fitzpatrick in writing at least twice a year.
Do deacons preach?
Strictly speaking, preaching has not historically been part of a deacon's ministry. Deacons are permitted occasionally in worship services to comment on subjects related to servant ministry and the needs of the world, in place of the regular sermon. Some deacons are more comfortable than others with this role. In theory, some deacons may have a gift and calling to preach. In such cases, the deacon would need to be licensed by the Bishop. Currently, in the Diocese of Hawai‘i, no deacon has a license to preach.
May a deacon lead worship when the priest is away?
Deacons lead prayer offices, such as Morning Prayer and Evening Prayer, as lay persons also may do. "Deacon's masses," where the deacon serves communion from the reserved sacrament in the absence of a priest (BCP p. 408), are not permitted in this diocese. Deacons do not preside at weddings or baptisms, but may preside at burials.
The Rev. Dcn. Steve Costa
The following Deacons are canonically resident in the Diocese of Hawai‘i, but some of them live elsewhere.