Mass to Celebrate Anniversary of the First Deacon Class

September 07, 2011

In 1971, the first U.S. permanent deacons were ordained by Cardinal Patrick O’Boyle, then-Archbishop of Washington, after Pope Paul VI approved the restoration of the Order of Permanent Deacons. Sixteen of the ordained were from the deacon training program at St. Joseph Seminary in Northeast Washington.

Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Washington Barry Knestout, will celebrate the Mass marking the 40th anniversary of the first deacon class.

Saturday, September 10, 2011
5:00 p.m.
St. Joseph
2020 St. Joseph Drive
Largo, MD

Bishop Knestout serves as vicar general and Moderator of the Curia for the Archdiocese of Washington. His father, Deacon Thomas Knestout was a member of the deacon class of 1975. Deacon Knestout, father of nine children,  went on to serve for many years as the first director of the Office of Permanent Diaconate for the Archdiocese of Washington. Bishop Knestout’s brother, Father Mark Knestout, is the director of the Office of Worship for the Archdiocese of Washington.

The Permanent Diaconate has its origins in apostolic times and the deacons’ position was of great importance in the early Church. The Western Church transitioned the diaconate into a part of the path to priesthood, the “transitional diaconate,” which continues today.

The Second Vatican Council restored the diaconate as a permanent ministry. Today, there are over 19,000 permanent deacons in the United States. One hundred ninety-eight permanent deacons are working in the Archdiocese of Washington today in the three areas: word, liturgy and service (charity). Each deacon is given a parish assignment, which he serves under the direction of the parish pastor. Each deacon is also assigned a specific Ministry of Charity and Justice, which may be related to his assigned parish or distinct from it.

The Archdiocese of Washington is home to over 600,000 Catholics living in Washington, DC and five Maryland counties: Calvert, Charles, Montgomery, Prince George’s and St. Mary’s.

Brie Hall
Office of Communications
[email protected]