Can A Deacon Perform A Catholic Wedding?


Deacon at ceremony

To have a valid marriage, the wedding officiant you choose is a crucial factor. In a catholic wedding, an ordained clergy usually plays the role of a wedding officiant; however, in certain circumstances, an ordained deacon, as a leader in the catholic church, can act as a wedding officiant. It is important to note that it is only men who can be ordained as deacons in the catholic church both on a permanent or transitional basis.

So, can a deacon perform a catholic wedding? A deacon can perform a catholic wedding; however, the deacon requires permission from the priest or bishop to do so. Most of the catholic weddings happen in mass. A deacon does not have the powers to conduct mass; hence, the need consent of the incumbent to perform the wedding. When the deacon has been given permission to officiate the wedding, they should perform the authorized services without any variation.

A deacon has various roles that he performs in the catholic church. One of them is officiating weddings as authorized by a priest or bishop. Read on to find out more about this role and many others.

Can a Deacon Perform a Catholic Wedding?

The key ingredient to a deacon performing a catholic wedding is having the express authority to do so. Without authority, the wedding and subsequent marriage shall be considered invalid. In a catholic wedding, the sacrament of marriage is fundamental. It is a covenant between the bride and groom that establishes a partnership between them. The presence of clergy as a witness is vital to ensure that the contract of marriage is valid.

All ordained clergy from the priest to the deacon may witness the wedding ceremony itself. Most weddings usually occur during Mass; however, deacons do not have the authority to celebrate Mass. Yet, when a wedding ceremony occurs inside a mass, a deacon may obtain authority from the priest or bishop to witness that wedding.

A Deacon

A wedding that takes place outside Mass is usually between a catholic and a non-Christian, but the rules rarely change regarding who officiates the wedding.

Since an ordained deacon is also considered a clergy in the catholic church, he can perform those traditions with permission from his priest or bishop. Some of these traditions include saying the opening prayers, the liturgy of the word, exchange of consent, the profession of faith, among others.

If a priest is present, a deacon can also play a part in the wedding. The priest can authorize the deacon to perform some of his roles like blessings of the rings, blessings of the couple, and pronouncement of the blessings of the congregation at the end of the service.

Role of a Deacon

A deacon can officiate a catholic wedding. The deacons play other important roles in the catholic church. They include the following.

Perform Baptisms

Baptism is an integral part of the Christian faith. It shows the commitment a Christian gives to living a better life in accordance with Christian teachings. Most of the time, a priest or bishop would perform baptism at their church. A deacon can also perform baptism on behalf of their incumbent.

Preside Over Funerals

A deacon can also preside over funerals or funeral services but only outside of mass. Since a deacon cannot preside over mass in a catholic church, they cannot preside over funerals held inside of Mass.

Distribute the Holy Communion

The holy communion is the most known practice of the catholic church in the world. It is an integral part of the catholic church, where congregants receive the sacrament. A deacon can distribute the holy communion to the congregants with permissions from the priest or bishop.

Preach the Homily

A homily is a sermon given after the Gospel of Mass. The deacon can give the Homily, which is a commentary that follows a reading of scripture. This role is usually delegated to the deacon by the priest or bishop, depending on the circumstances. Still, since it is an important part of the service, it cannot be delegated to a layperson.

Assisting the Priest

A deacon will assist the priest during Mass as he offers the invocations of the Penitential Rite, he proclaims the gospel, receives gifts, prepares the altars, among many other duties. The deacon can also help the priest with his responsibilities outside of Mass.

Types of Deacons

There are different types of deacons in the catholic church. They’re divided into two categories. 

Permanent Deacons

A permanent deacon is a man ordained to be a deacon by the bishop on a permanent basis. Permanent deacons have no intention to become priests in the future. He can be single or married. A married man will require permission from their wife to become a permanent deacon. If the wife dies, the deacon is not allowed to remarry. A permanent deacon can have a career outside the church to support his family.

Transitional Deacons

A transitional deacon is a man who has sworn the life of celibacy and has been ordained to be a deacon. A transitional deacon intends to be a priest in the future. They play the same role as permanent deacons but cannot participate in some activities such as marrying or having a career outside of the church. The bishop ordains a transitional deacon about a year after their diaconal ordination.

What a Deacon Cannot Do

There are several activities that a deacon cannot do regardless of the circumstances. Only the priest or bishop can carry out such activities, and they cannot be delegated to the deacon. These activities include;

Holy Orders

A deacon cannot confer the Sacrament of Ordination. The Sacrament of Ordination is a holy order where men are ordained as priests or deacons. This sacrament can only be carried out by a bishop who must lay his hands on the candidate.

Sacrament of Penance

The Sacrament of Penance is where the catholic faithful are absolved from sins committed after baptism. A deacon can offer counseling services to a church member, but if the church member decides they want to confess their sins during the counseling session, the deacon will have to get the priest to do it.

Anointing the Sick

When a catholic faithful is very sick and feels they are near death, they usually request a priest or bishop to visit them. The purpose of the visit is usually to get anointed by the sacred before one succumbs. A deacon is allowed to visit the sick, but he is not allowed to anoint the sick.

Confirmation

Confirmation is the sacrament through which Catholics accept a special outpouring of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirits gives Catholics more ability to practice their Catholic faith in all aspects of their lives. A bishop will administer the sacrament of confirmation. A deacon cannot administer the sacrament of confirmation under any circumstance. If they purport to do so, it is considered invalid.

Final Word

The deacon plays an essential role in the catholic church. The catholic wedding is a spiritual ceremony joining two individuals into a contract with each other before God. It is, therefore, important for clergy to officiate or witness the union. In the catholic church, a priest or bishop will officiate the wedding, but the deacon will do it if authorized to do so.

However, there are some roles that are better left to the priest or bishop. If the deacon carries out an activity he is not authorized to, and it will be considered invalid. To avoid this inconvenience, Catholics must know the exact roles a deacon plays before seeking out their services.

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