Tricia Vowels, MPS '15 of the Diocese of Lubbock, recently presented a workshop at the National Diaconate Congress in New Orleans entitled "Discernment, Synergy, and Community: Supporting the Ministry of the Deacon’s Wife," a topic she developed in the final course of her Loyola studies.
Although she does not have a title or an official position in the hierarchy of the Catholic Church, the wife of a permanent deacon has an important and unique role that is vital to the Church’s pastoral ministry. For the married deacon, the Sacraments of Marriage and Holy Orders must function in harmony with each other. This harmony is only achieved with a partner who can equally integrate the call to serve the Body of Christ into her own life, marriage, and family.
This presentation focuses on the vocation of the deacon’s wife in the Catholic Church by considering the history of the diaconate as described in Scripture and church documents and reflecting on her unique and sometimes confusing role in the parish where they serve.
A Deacon Wives’ Coordinator can work within the diocese to encourage wives of men in deacon formation, bring together the wives of active deacons for learning and support, and reach out to wives of retired and deceased deacons who continue to be valuable members of the deacon community. Her presentation described a continuing education program for wives that utilizes the human, spiritual, intellectual and pastoral dimensions. It also addressed many of the challenges of ministering to the wives of deacons who are diverse in terms of age, ethnicity, education, socioeconomic status, geographic area, and experience.