National Directory



and deacons in the Latin Rite. 18 The apostolic letter Ad Pascendum established norms concerning the Order of Deacons. 19 The apostolic letter Ministeria Quaedam addressed the suppression in the Latin Rite of first tonsure, the minor orders, and the subdiaconate; established norms for entrance into the clerical state; and instituted the stable ministries of lector and acolyte. 20 II. The Diaconate in the United States of America 5. Since the Second Vatican Council consigned the decision of the resto ration of the diaconate to individual episcopal conferences, the bishops of the United States of America voted in the spring of 1968 to peti tion the Holy See for authorization. In their letter of May 2, 1968, the bishops presented the following reasons for the request: a. To complete the hierarchy of sacred orders and to enrich and strengthen the many and various diaconal ministries at work in the United States of America with the sacramental grace of the diaconate b. To enlist a new group of devout and competent men in the active ministry of the Church c. To aid in extending needed liturgical and charitable services to the faithful in both large urban and small rural communities d. To provide an official and sacramental presence of the Church in areas of secular life, as well as in communities within large cities and sparsely settled regions where few or no priests are available e. To provide an impetus and source for creative adaptations of diaconal ministries to the rapidly changing needs of our society 6. On August 30, 1968, the Apostolic Delegate informed the United States of America bishops that St. Paul VI had agreed to their request. In November of that year, a standing committee on the diaconate was created by the National Conference of Catholic Bishops (NCCB). In 1971, the conference approved and authorized the publication of the

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